The Space Shuttle Discovery has landed for the last time. I feel sad that this chapter of space exploration is slowly collapsing like a punctured balloon. I think I'll continue to tear up years from now at the sight of her coming down looking as spry and eager as she has every time. It makes me feel as if we are making a mistake shelving the entire branch of workforce spacecraft.
Scrapping the shuttle program puts NASA back into the field of basically pure research without practical application, which means it won't last for long. Another 10 years and NASA will probably be gone - replaced by military programs most likely.
The military has its own space-plane (X-B37) these days since they have all the money they need so why do we need a civilian spacecraft, right? If it becomes tactically significant that we place men on the Moon again or even Mars then we might see some effort there, but science is no longer a priority these days for spending.
I am excited for the folks at Virgin Galactic, though. I hope that they can make it commercially viable to travel in space for everyone (like we believed we'd already have back in the day!). They understand the romance and allure of space and hopefully will be able to make it attainable for all of us kids who watched rockets with stars in our hearts.