Apart from the fact that cost reduction is happening in general as time goes on and that NASA will be launching another, bigger, rocket shortly, it really does come down to it being "rockets that landed" as everything else has been done before and could already be done.
Simon the NASA rocket you mention...in my opinion it is a big waste of money. NASA is desperately trying to hang on to the launch side of things. It doesn't need to build that rocket but bureaucracies never want to lose their mandates.
Elon Musk is developing the same reality distortion field as Steve Jobs, I think they both have an element of P.T.Barnum about them.
I have to say, I 100% agree with you on that personality cult development. This isn't the first time something like this has happened. Tesla and Edison come to mind as examples of their own time.
Still, the rocket works. It isn't fake. It lands (no one has ever done this other than in prototypes). And he is selling launches for cheaper than anyone else. I don't put SpaceX in the same category as Musk's other ventures.
The un-photoshopped version of StarMan finally dropped:
The “cult of personality” thing is genuine but consider the two examples: steve jobs pushed apple to great heights, in personal computing then cutting edge digital music and eventually making cell phones what they are today. Im not into hero worship but he was a hellva innovator.
musk isnt my favorite guy individually but again the tech he is pushing is phenomenal. Just the electric drive motors on tesla cars hold incredible innovations in energy and have changed some of paradims in transportation, driven battery tech to become better etc etc...
these guys have cult followings that no one “deserves” but they have earned legitimate respect in their fields.
Why SpaceX matters.