coondoggie writes "Optimism certainly abounds in some corners of the manned space community. Today the aerospace consultancy Futron said that as much as $1.5 billion may be up for grabs for commercial space operation in the next ten years. The consultancy singled out the $30 million Google Lunar X-PRIZE contestants as a highly likely group to take advantage of such a cash pot, but there are many others who'd like a slice of that pie as well. But it's not all wine and roses; finances loom large over any space projects, and technology development is also proving to be a bugaboo. For example, even as NASA's commercial partners, such as SpaceX and Orbital, have made steady progress in developing space cargo transportation technology, they have also recently fallen behind their development schedules."