Saturday, July 09, 2011
The Last One: STS-135
Shuttle Atlantis is now in orbit around the Earth. In eleven days her mission will end, and so will the Shuttle Program. What next?
It is time for private industry and private corporations to step up to the plate and take us farther than any national space agency can. When I was a boy, I had imagined that by 2011 we would have people (not scientists) living in space, orbital hotels, orbital flights from New York to Tokyo in 2 hours, colonies on the Moon, and mining of the asteroids, and imminent colonization of Mars. We are a long way off from those lofty childish dreams.
As private industry gets its space legs, mankind will disperse into the solar system. When investments start returning dividends both monetarily and technologically, then we will see a boom in space development. Perhaps now that the Shuttle Program is about to conclude, Boeing, Martin Marietta, and other groups will turn the corner, and the page, to usher in an even more exciting era of space entrepreneurship than NASA ever did.
NASA must decrease and private industry must increase if we are to obtain The Right Stuff in the 21st century.