Today NASA launched a space shuttle for the last time.
One more time a completely stuffed to the rim shuttle will dock to the ISS.
The common tendency in the U.S. is sadness. Almost no one seems to realise how necessary it is to retire the shuttle. "Now we'll have to rely on the Russians to get into space", they moan. "it's a shame this nation is not able any more to get into space itself" and, the worst: "Fourty years ago, we went to the moon, after that, we were only able to reach LEO (low earth orbit). Now we're grounded."
These moaners do not seem to realise that space is not exclusively for the US. A ride in a Soyuz is all in all cheaper than a shuttle flight. They don't seem to notice all the things people have achieved in the last 40 years just in LEO. And worst: it has happened before and no one seems to notice. Between 1975 and 1981 there also was an American "gap" in human space flight.
The reason the shuttle now is retiring is very legit. It is an ageing machine, two million parts, flown for thirty years, multiple space missions later the wear and tear has become just too much. The whole turnaround is just too expensive. It's like trying to keep up in a modern formula one race with a 40-year old Ferrari.
Now please, all you so-called space enthusiasts in America: stop whining that you're so sad about this. first: read NASA's manifests, look into why the shuttle retires and most of all: look into the future. The nearby future. In about two, three years NASA can choose between three man-rated spacecraft to fly into space again. All of them much more modern and safe than the shuttle will ever be. NASA will lose a lot of jobs, yes, but I think there are a lot of new jobs on the horizon for lots of those people in the private space sector coming.
I know that America is a society that is built around a kind of sentimental way of life.
But stop complaining about the "saddest moment ever", and all of the BS above
My ears start to get really weary of all that unnecessary overreacted whining.
A great nation should look forward.