I was really excited to see the Shuttle launch on Tuesday. I'm glad everything went smoothly, and of course, I hope their mission is successful, and they get home safe.
That being said, it occurred to me that they are spending a lot of time and resources now checking every inch of the orbiter for damage from the foam. I understand why they need to do it, and by all means they should. However, its kind of a bummer that the once proud and exciting shuttle program has come to this sad end - 2 launches in 2 years, and they spend the first day or two checking it for damage from the launch.
I wish there was some way of shaking up the whole space program to make it exciting again. I hope we do go to the moon again as promised, but I forsee a high likelyhood that the lunar mission will go the way of "Space Station Freedom" or the X-33 VentureStar.
I'm sure there's alot of NASA experts out there reading this - do you forsee any chance of getting human spaceflight into the next gear within the next 10 years?
I do realize the space program exists for more than just my own personal entertainment, but I also think it is a great way to inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers and thinkers.