However what interested me wasn’t the weather down in Florida, but the follow-up story The Washington Post had on the International Space Station, the reason the shuttle was going up into space in the first place. Construction on the station is almost complete but now there’s been talk that the station could be shut down and allowed to burn in Earth’s atmosphere as soon as 2016.
According to the article there’s no long term plans for the station past 2015.
I think that’s kind of ridiculous, I’m not a space aficionado by any means but to me Space Exploration has been something that has defined not only our country as a leader, but the recent accomplishments as a human race.
Now of course the de-orbiting of the ISS doesn’t mean that there isn’t another plan. With the space shuttle fleet to be retired in 2010, it’s only going to make way for the next generation of space travel vehicles. But so far I’m not hearing any plans for a replacement for the ISS, once it’s gone we’re going to lose a key presence in the heavens.
I agree with Senator Bill Nelson’s comments on the situation, “”If we’ve spent a hundred billion dollars, I don’t think we want to shut it down in 2015…My opinion is it would be a travesty to de-orbit this thing…if we get rid of this darned thing in 2015, we’re going to cede our leadership in human exploration.”
So my question is, what is the U.S. Government’s next plan post space station?