I'm still of two minds about the whole loss of the shuttles and the subsequent pause of manned flight for 5-10 years (estimate).
On one hand, I'm absolutely astounded that we, Americans, haven't furnished NASA with the much needed money to help build projects and such and to not just continue but further advance manned space flight.
Granted we'll be hitching rides on the Russian Soyuz vehicles but there's the whole reliability issue. While NASA has paid for certain contracts there is no guarantee politics won't get in the way.
Also I'm a huge nerd and I just want us to have a Starfleet, ya know?
Then I got to thinking about how we'd come about our vasty fleets in the stars.
Currently the American government does not produce it's own vehicles, whether they be air or land. Our entire military is completely dependent on civilian companies. And because of the resultant competition and generally unrestrained R&D atmosphere we have the most technologically adept, advanced and equipped military in the world.
Even with my patriotism getting in the way I just can't imagine the government doing that on its own. Sure it more or less has NASA and the shuttles, etc., but most experts also love to talk about how hidebound and linear much of NASA is.
Obviously I'm discussing the future militarization of space and I would hope that nobody would pretend to be shocked by that. It's going to happen. My belief is that public access to space would be furthered as a result of the defense expenditures into space R&D development by civilian companies.
And does anyone happen to have one million dollars I could have? I wanna purchase this ticket, see.....