Re: Alternative arrangements
"would you argue that the USA has had its day so far as manned spaceflight goes?"
Yes. Yes, I would.They don't know whether they want to be in orbit, go to the moon, Mars or asteroids and, as a result, will almost certainly manage to do none of those things. I'm not criticising NASA or the engineers and scientists - they are top people - but the anti-science, trumpist-fantasy culture in which they are forced to operate.
Taikonauts are where manned spaceflight is going. They have an aim, motivation and focus.