The new issue of Wired magazine has an interview by Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson with SpaceX's CEO: Elon Musk’s Mission to Mars.
The whole thing is worth reading, not least for some of the provocative things he says. Here's a taste:
One of our competitors, Orbital Sciences, has a contract to resupply the International Space Station, and their rocket honestly sounds like the punch line to a joke. It uses Russian rocket engines that were made in the ’60s. I don’t mean their design is from the ’60s—I mean they start with engines that were literally made in the ’60s and, like, packed away in Siberia somewhere.
On ULA's sole-source contract:
The Pentagon’s preferred approach is to do long-term, “sole-source” contracts—which means to lock up the entire business for one company! We’ve been trying to bid on the primary Air Force launch contract, but it’s nearly impossible, because United Launch Alliance, co-owned by Boeing and Lockheed Martin, currently has an exclusive contract with the Air Force for satellite launch. It’s totally inappropriate. ... Even though we would save the taxpayers at least a billion dollars a year—and that’s a conservative estimate.
Competition and patents:
We have essentially no patents in SpaceX. Our primary long-term competition is in China—if we published patents, it would be farcical, because the Chinese would just use them as a recipe book.