Steve Coll has failed to comprehend the nature of the dispute between the existing shuttle-business bureaucracy and the nascent private rocket industry (Washington, July). This is the age-old dispute among those businesses that enjoy the taxpayer-supported favors of the government, those that want equal favors, and those that want no favors -- only an equal opportunity to create. But Reagan is being Reagan, and that means compromising.

Unfortunately, compromising means legitimizing the federal government's authority in this area. This means NASA's authority in space -- which is the real problem behind the politics.

A real story on the industry and how these high-altitude entrepreneurs intend to grow in a government-dominated industry would be an article with lessons for most of us.