Well that got gritty in a hurry...
Several steps back in the last interchange...
1) RP-1 Rockets cannot steer an object into space dock on their own. They have to be shut off and allow restartable rockets to control a space dock. Zero doubt on this.
2) SLS can be cancelled in 2013 if costs steer another direction. NASA feels that the larger rockets are important to ANY deepspace exploration. You can disagree, but they still think that it is true.
3) NASA is a governmental agency, that is how the USA does it. For the ninth time, get the ESA going with your better ideas.
4) I agree that commercialization of deepspace is 20+ years away, that is why handing it over to privatization is premature. If there is no profit in an activity, they they won't do it. I doubt that conventional mineral mining will be a driving force in the next 50 years, for the reasons you cite.
5) The 20-day capability for MPCV has everything to do with shielding and provisioning. You cannot put a ping-pong table in any capsule.
6) Commercialization is ripe for LEO tasks. Let it build its success there. Although I agree that NASA's traditional suppliers need to get more efficient, NASA's ways of getting what it wants need to be revised (even without congressional micromanagement). NASA needs to find a Czar that changes NASA while resisting wild value judgements from the press, congress and others.
(down from soapbox)...
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