According to Space Daily and SpaceRef.com Bush may be planning to announce a new space policy focusing on returning men to the Moon and developing technology for manned flights to near-Earth asteroids and Mars.
If true, this is great news! I find the West’s risk averse, spendthrift attitude toward new technology and exploration depressing. I want to look up at the Moon and think: There are people up there!
If that is the plan, I wonder what role of the Space Shuttle will be. The reusable shuttle was supposed to make spaceflight cheaper, and instead it made it much more expensive, sucking up budgets that could have been spent better elsewhere, and anchoring us firmly and disappointingly in low-earth-orbit.
If Bush wants to be really bold on the Kitty Hawk centennial, he’ll say that the plan is to retire the Shuttles immediately, or within 2 years, and
develop disposable capsules (none of this space plane crap) that can serve as transport to the space station and to high orbit and beyond.