And then there was one:
They’re old, but phasing them out with no replacement just seems really short-sighted and, well, sad.
I think the future of space exploration is actually looking really bright at the moment.
NASA will likely be reduced by budget pressures to conducting only low cost, high return scientific missions, which basically means sending robot probes around the solar system.
However there are now a large number of countries with space programs, growing demand for satellite services in weather, broadband, GPS etc, and viable private companies like Virgin Galactic and SpaceX in the field. Once real commercial competition gets going, I expect the trend will be the same as in other domains of high tech – costs will fall rapidly and space industries will experience rapid growth as a share of the global economy.
But yes, its sad to see the Shuttles go.
Well it’s an incentive for the US to maintain good relations with Russia considering they now depend on them for access to the ISS. Then again, I’m not sure this is a good thing.
It is sad, it’s an icon of our lifetimes, I can remember watching the very first launch in school, I can remember the tests with a shuttle piggy backing on a 747. I think space exploration might ultimately benefit if the demise of the shuttle leads to closer co-operation between nations.
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