The report starts out with some sci fi 1950s style, but then goes on to show the current technology and the plans for the future, of which we only ever saw the Shuttle. Sad to think the Shuttle was the only survivor of those original plans. I suppose ISS is also part of it, but its a fraction of the size of the original station designed as the starting point and 'orbital shipyard' of Moon and Mars missions, that Von Braun originally envisaged. If you read the original plans (Heres an article about his oroginal Mars shot, there are several others too, http://www.astronautix.com/craft/vonn1969.htm), the Shuttle was a tiny part of a monumental program, but it ended up becoming the centerpiece of a reduced (and still spectacular) mission.
Now the Shuttle is retired, is that the end of those epic dreams of the 1950s? Was the Shuttle ultimately a white elephant (A lethal and expensive one at that. The Mecury/Gemini/Apollo crews were safer at launch than Shuttle crews), that while magnificent, never fully achieved the task it was designed for and was maybe responsible for restricting manned space flight to LEO? The price of the Shuttle program never compared particularly favorably to the cost of Apollo, in a cost V benefit sense (Heres a link to an interesting article about just that http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1579/1) but Im not among those that think cost should prohibit space exploration.
I loved the shuttle and NASA in general still, and the fact remains noone now, or in the forseeable future, can put 8 people and 30 tons of equipment into orbit in one incredible shot. Its not all gloom of course. There are still amazing unmanned missions exploring space, but it seems the ultimate dream, of man living beyond the Earth is losing momentum in a world that values vacuous celebrity idols over the scientists and explorers.
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