BFR? Or SLS?
"The BFR is a glint in spaceX's eye"
Mmm... SpaceX started building BFR parts in 2017. The BFR is a lot more than just plans on a computer, and SpaceX - regardless of its over-optimistic boss - does get things done quicker than the usual suspects working on NASA contracts.
"if the BFR timescale is within 3 years of what Musk has said, I will eat my own hair"
Certainly Musk has form when it comes to being, shall we say, a little over-optimistic on development times. But then again, the SLS itself is already well behind the original schedule.
Both the SLS and BFR are currently supposed to have their first flight next year - SpaceX is apparently planning a suborbital hop next year for the first BFR launch, while the SLS is scheduled to launch "no earlier" than 19th December 2019.
I'd happily bet a small sum that neither rocket will fly until 2020.
I've no idea how to judge the odds of which big rocket's most likely to go into service first. Maybe someone could toddle down to the bookies and place a bet? William Hill goes for this sort of thing...
I've just had a look and found a curious thing here:
NASA says that the first element of the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway is due to be launched in 2022. The thing is, that NASA article also says:
"NASA plans to launch elements of the gateway on the agency’s Space Launch System or commercial rockets for assembly in space."
- so NASA's statement from the 13th February 2018 seems to contradict NASA’s Human Spaceflight head honcho Bill Gerstenmaier's insistence on the 26th March 2018 that only the SLS will do.
I think we're just going to have to wait and see what happens.