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The end of an era seems to be upon us. The aging Shuttle Program is being phased out by 2010. But if they do not return to space by Spring of 2006, the program will be canned for good. :(
NPR reported that NASA will be releasing a study in a few weeks looking into using Private Industry to cargo supplies to the ISS (International Space Station). They interview an Internet-Boom-Millionaire that is about to launch a rocket next year, for just $50 million vs. NASA's $1 billion price tag, per launch.
I closely watched the Race to Space a few years ago, and liked the direction SpaceShipOne idea. A lot of people protested that their design wasn't correct as it wasn't completely into space. Well with a few halogen nozzles to control direction, as with the X2 that Chuck Yeager flew oh so long ago, you can control it.
Besides, the whole idea behind the Race to Space was to find a cheap and plentiful solution to make it to space. And this shows that the private industry is very creative.
I think it's time. A time of a new era. Yes there will be disasters, but I'd like to see Mars when I am 75. Wouldn't you? :) Ok, the Moon perhaps in a fly-by is more realistic.