Originally Posted by Ensign James T. Kirk
Not to go off topic on your thread, NCC, but just what is the plan for manned flight over the next 5 years? Nada?
There will be manned flight, but by which countries.....Russia, China? Good for them, but our dependence on them for any upcoming manned missions will only create further opportunity to "outsource" our space program. A friendly competition between countries can only create better means for space travel.
I would liken that to growing dependent on the neighbor to drive me around to do my job. One day the neighbor may just quit helping or move away. We need a sound spacecraft...now, before the shuttle quits flying. Like you, I don't see a replacement on the near horizon even after the shuttle is retired. Apollo should have continued and overlaped the shuttle program, just like Orion should have been ready to go as the shuttle was being retired. This country has had only one operational type of spacecraft at a time. Bad idea! If an Orion/Apollo craft had been in the works back in 2003, it would have been flying by now. The shuttle itself could have taken the craft up for test flights and returned them without a dedicated launch vehicle. They could have complemented each other in purpose. Sorry Rant, Rant, Rant!