On Retiring the Space Shuttle
|The Surface of Mars, Without A Runway In Sight|
The timing for all of this has also never been better. There are now private companies that are on the verge of launching commercial ventures into space. They can take care of launching new satellites and servicing old ones, which is a task previously done by the Space Shuttle.
For anything that the private sector isn't currently equipped to handle, the Europeans, Chinese, and Russians can take care of it. They are doing today the sorts of things that NASA was doing thirty years ago and they will continue to do them. It's time for NASA to continue its leadership in space by moving onto the next thing.
It's time for NASA to land a spacecraft on an asteroid; to launch a manned expedition to Mars and to return to the Moon. These are the challenges that await NASA. They will be met, not with the Space Shuttle, but with our next generation of spacecraft. I, for one, eagerly look forward to what is next for America's space program.