Centaur has near 60 years of development history, it should be better than F9, however within 10 years of development SpaceX designed the Falcon family and started landing the booster reliably and in the process launch cut costs by 30% or there abouts (not sure the latest number). if not for them, most of the legacy operators would still be using the Nth Atlantic as a booster dumping ground for many years to come. SpaceX has almost landed more Boosters than Centaur 2 has had launches.
Even Peter Beck has been forced to publicly admit he was wrong on booster recovery and now in final stages of development.
Still waiting on the others to catch up on the farring recoveries.
I enjoy space from all sides, but it seems that for the last 10 years one company is leading and the rest are trying to catch up with their old ways of accessing space. I mean hell, poor old ULA still has the Delta IV heavy sitting there after 6+ weeks and still no signs of going. Thats all good and well for dumping crap into LEO or GSO where windows are more frequent and easy, but if you facing narrow windows for long interplantory ....... Yes they got the Mars rover away as scheduled, great! But this isn't helping their profile.
SpaceX also made rocket launches fun again, by running their own Youtube broadcast and providing multi point imaging throughout the flight. Most of the others you are lucky to get a view to LEO on the booster from one angle. The live video coverage of the FH test launch and booster recovery is still an amazing visual display of modern engineering which helps get support for the industry and funding for science.
F9's 2nd stage advanced development was stopped. It works, does the job, yes we don't like dumping them in the south Pacific, but so be and focus on Starship.
Agree, the abort thing is interesting. There are very strong stats to say its not needed (airline industry is an example of why planes are not fitted with them), but still, not sure I'm ready to go without! To date only one flight abort has been used (successfully only 2 years back) and Challenger would have more than likely been a different story if it had one that worked in that application. Gemini's abort system would have more than likely been lethal had it been used, but we have come along way since. Using the Russian design intent, it would have. Still no reason for Starship not to have one, just needs to be different approach in the design. Probably push the crew capsule out the nose.
What upgrades were done to Block V to make it human rated, my understanding was most changes were done for refurb and recovery purposes.
At this time I do not see Crew-1 being delayed for ULA at all. There are 24 days to go, they have the option to use any of them.
2 extra crew on board does not impact of vehicle prep time. The rocket is ready, it just needs to be moved into position and lifted up.
Don't know the details of the assembly or other, but CRS-21 may or may not be able to brought forward and there maybe issues in doing so for timing of follow up missions. Also no published that I can find which booster they plan to use on CRS-21, it may or may not be ready before that date.