Nothing to Celebrate.
While it is good news that the launch of Atlantis went well today, the end of the US manned space program is not (the robotic space plane doesn’t count). Of course, there are plans for a new vehicle, and I always thought that the shuttle was the wrong vehicle for the wrong job, but at least it was something, and in this age of slashed budgets a new manned space program looks mighty vulnerable.
The thing is that there isn’t an actual unresolvable budget crisis; the solutions are obvious if one is not an irrational ideologue. Perhaps it is spurious to assert that there is a connection between the end of US manned spaceflight and the rise of the irrational ideologue in our public discourse, but more spurious connections are being made by people who are being talked about as being ‘serious’ presidential contenders.
Also, when do we get to call this class warfare?