What seemed for a long time as a distant possibility for NASA finally seems to have occurred. Monday morning marked the day of the launch of the NASA shuttle endeavor.
The significance of the NASA shuttle launch lay beyond just the fact that it was embarking on a mission to outer space. It marked the penultimate NASA shuttle launch before a period which is roughly going to be known as “The Gap”. This is a period of time when no space shuttles will be launched by NASA which means there will be no U.S. led space mission for some time now.
This “Gap” is a result of what Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger says was a lack of prioritization of space programs by previous administrations which resulted in lack of funds in subsequent years. The last NASA shuttle launch is scheduled in early July after which if the U.S. intends to send any astronauts into space over the next couple of years, an approach to Russia would be necessary apart from a price of $62.7 per seat that the U.S. wants to take from Russia. It is believed however that the problem that is “The Gap” would come to an end once a deal from a group of private companies is concretized by NASA according to NASA administrator Charles Bolden.
Either way there seems no scope for any U.S. led missions to outer space well before 2015. Until then the U.S. dominated space exploration sphere will find itself open to conquest by other nations while the U.S. looks for means to come out of this stagnation.