Last Thursday, July 21, the Space Shuttle Atlantis landed, ending the United States’ Space Shuttle program. And it may mark the end of manned flight, at least as far as the United States is concerned. Russia will still be able to send people into orbit, and American astronauts can hitch a ride with them to get to the International Space Station, another program whose days are numbered. But there are no plans to update manned spacecraft or start any more manned space programs. See Shuttle Atlantis Final Landing Completes U.S. Retreat from Manned Spaceflight – IT Infrastructure – News & Reviews – eWeek.com.
So does this mean all of those science fiction fantasies about space being the final frontier and all that were just a blip of technological and imaginative optimism?