Space X gets less money for more missions than Orbital. Is the Cygnus capsule carrying larger payloads to make up for that discrepancy? One poster on another site was wondering how Orbital could get the slightly richer contract for fewer missions.
I am of the opinion that SpaceX got the short end of the stick . That said, they did not have a successful rocket at the time of the contract either. Remember that ORB was not an original COTS contract winner. When their predecessor failed NASA went to ORB for their experience in launch/ satelitte biz. They had an unknown in Space X . They got ORB, for more than SpaceX in many aspects of the contract. I believe one of those is cargo haul. Certainly the Dragon is a more advanced capsule than the Cyngus ,in that it has return to Earth capabilities. With the retirement of the Shuttle looming , NASA made the decision that ORB's cost were doable, and given the experience desireable. I think the contract extension which will occur next year , will have a different outcome.