Well it's happened and it's a done deal. I was just browsing the Web and happened upon another article that reminds me of how far we've slipped in our role in space. The Shuttle(s) are now going to be a museum pieces. But fear not - the Chinese will carry the torch. They'll be launching their fourth manned mission in June and it may include the first Chinese Woman in space.
I can remember living in Petaluma Kalifornia in 1961 as a seven-year old and standing on the porch with my Dad and watching a satellite at night (yes-you can see them) pass overhead. I don't remember if it was Telstar or one of our other early satellites. All I know and remember is the impression it made on me. We're now reduced to "studying" the stars via Hubble and our other space telescopes. Not that that's a bad thing. But - while we're looking the Chinese are doing. How in the hell did this happen? Less than ten years after George W Bush announced a planned return to the Moon, Barack Omama officially ended our Shuttle Program and our Moon trips. That fucking sucks! Now I have to rely on television reruns to visit space.
You can guess from my age (58) what my favorite television shows were as a teenager growing up. Yeah - Star Trek and the Outer Limits are at the top of a short list. My favorite genre of fiction was Science Fiction. Bradbury, Heinlein, A.C. Clark were among my favorite authors. One of the dreams on my bucket list is to see mankind make First Contact and solve the problems of fuel supply and velocity enabling interstellar travel. After all - the Earth isn't gonna last forever. I still believe these things will eventually happen. But now it looks like it won't happen in my lifetime. At least not by the USA.
Here's hoping that President-elect Romney will find it in our national budget to revive our manned program. I don't wanna see the Chinese beat the USA to the Stars.