NASA has launched the last shuttle Atlantis as a somewhat symbolic gesture. Atlantis will be the last shuttle of traditional design as NASA receives increased funding over the next six years to be revamped and aid in transforming the space and airway industries.The space industry is now being modeled after the more privatized transportation industries and infrastructures like planes, trains and automobiles. The manufacturing of space vehicles will become more privatized while NASA will still be active in research and development and working towards deep human space travel according to President Obama.
NASA will be able to focus more on the other aspects and interests of their research and development; environmental factors here on earth, the atmosphere of the sun, more research at the international space center, higher quality telescopes, radiation protection, energy transmission, dark energy and matter, and traveling into deep space are just some of the initiatives ahead of NASA in the next 5 to 50 years.
The initiative is to transform the current space and airway traveling infrastructure, propulsion systems, space docks systems, and to work towards traveling in a more efficient and green manner. The goal is to be orbiting and landing on mars within 30 years time. It has been about 50 years since Kennedy gave the infamous “.. do the other things, not because they are easy–but because they are hard..” speech. NASA and space travel has undeniably lead to the technological bounds America has taken in these last 50 years.
Space aircraft manufacturing will be opening up to the private industry sooner than later; it will be interesting to see how many major manufacturers and tech companies will have an increasing interest in this? Perhaps even Google? Lockhead Martin, Microsoft? Pure speculation at this point will only spur on further research.