The Space Shuttle — the re-usable “space truck” that brought us the modern space age and served us so well for three decades — is no more. In one of their more bone-headed decisions, the powers-that-be in Washington both ended the Shuttle program and, under the current administration, ended the program that was to replace the Shuttle program.
That has left us in a position that only a few years ago, would have been thought unthinkable: The world’s greatest and most advanced space-faring nation no longer has any means to send an astronaut into orbit. We can’t even launch supplies to the largely American-built International Space Station.
The result is that for years now what little we’ve been able to do has been by means of renting rides from our former enemies and current rivals, the Russians. And with the rising Russian revanchism under former KGB chief Vladimir Putin, we are facing the loss of even that: Putin has recently made it very plain that he resents even the little token opposition the U.S. has whimpered to Putin’s militaristic threats against his neighboring countries, and in retaliation Putin has stated that the space rides for Americans may soon come to an end.