The United States will soon no longer have a manned space program. The Shuttle Endeavor, completed its last flight this week. After almost three decades in space with the Shuttle, we will no longer have a method to launch a man into space after the coming flight of Atlantis. We will have to hitch-hike with the Russians.
I was in the Air Force at Keesler AFB, MS, when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969. I watched more Apollo fights and later shuttle flights. Yes, people died along the way. First with the Apollo capsule fire the killed Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee. Then came the Shuttle disasters, first with Challenger on takeoff and later Columbia on re-entry. We don’t really know how many the Russians lost—four is thought to be the minimum number of Russian Cosmonauts lost.
We, as a nation, have invested our treasure, lives and time to escape this planet and move outward. We were following the path started by our ancestors to explore new territory, to move and settle there. After Atlantis’ last flight, that dream will have to be assumed by the private sector. NASA started on the next generation of spacecraft with their aerospace plane and SSTO projects. Both have been killed.
Perhaps, that’s a good thing for the long run. Burt Rutan’s design for Space Ship One would have never been accepted by NASA. It doesn’t take billions of dollars to move outward. It can be done by business who, with a profit motive, will find a better, cheaper method of lifting cargo, whether live or inert, into orbit and further.
Here’s a visual comment by Michael Rameriz.
The democrats and liberals want to kill this dream. It doesn’t give them more power over the rest of us but it provides a means to escape tyranny. That they cannot allow. They hope that cutting NASA’s budget will suffice. I hope not. We’ll have to wait and see.
I had once hoped to live long enough to see men walk on Mars. I’ve not yet given up that hope.