Choking back a tear, NASA has announced the dates of the final missions to be made by the Space Shuttle. Discovery will lift off on November 1, for a 10-day mission carrying parts to the International Space Station. After that, February 26, 2011, will mark the last shuttle flight, as Endeavour takes the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer up to the ISS on a 13-day mission.
The possibility is left open that Atlantis may fly one more backup mission after that if necessary, but NASA has not made a decision yet.
The shuttle program has been in service for close to 30 years. After the final mission, U.S. astronauts will fly on Russian Soyuz craft instead.
Yet another industry that our government sells off or lets default to other countries. O how I love the administrations that has plagued us for so many decades now.
Don't the shuttle operations require a large percentage of the NASA budget? Wiki states that it was 30% in 2005. Granted, I love the space shuttle, but that's a lot of money that can either be axed or allocated elsewhere. While it is complex to put someone into space, it is probably a task that the near-booming aerospace companies can start handling given a little time and some advancements. NASA, meanwhile, could focus on other areas of research and tasks for deep space exploration. Just my two cents.