90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Last Shuttle Launch And The Future Of Space Exploration

As NASA’s final shuttle launch approaches, we look at America’s future in the final frontier.

Space Shuttle Atlantis sits on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (AP)

Space Shuttle Atlantis sits on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (AP)

America’s last space shuttle is on the launch pad.

Sometime in the next few days, weather permitting, it will go up. And will come down. And that will be it.

No more space shuttles.

In fact, no more manned American space flight period until something else comes along. We’ll be renting from the Russians. Watching the Chinese. Betting on a new wave of commercial spacecraft.

Talking about deep space, but not going there yet.

So, is the Space Age over? For us? For everybody? Was that just a dream?

This hour On Point: the last shuttle, and the future of humans in space.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Irene Klotz, NASA reporter for Reuters

Andrew Chaikin, science journalist and space historian. He’s the author of several books and articles covering NASA’s past and possible future, such as, “Voices from the Moon” and “A Passion for Mars”.

George Abbey, senior fellow in space policy at the Baker Institute at Rice University in Houston. He’s also the former director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Jeff Hoffman, former NASA astronaut. Currently he’s a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT.

From Tom’s Reading List:

More:

This hour on the show, we heard the theme from the 1966 Star Trek TV series by Alexander Courage

Here’s a briefing from NASA on the last shuttle flight.

And here’s a video from NASA about the first launch.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 17, 2014
Germany's Andre Schuerrle, left, celebrates scoring his side's 6th goal as Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar reacts during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.  Germany went on to win the World Cup championship later that month. (AP)

From the Sochi Olympics and Ray Rice to Lebron’s return to Cleveland, we’ll unpack a big year in sports.

 
Dec 17, 2014
Relatives of a victim of a Taliban attack in a school, mourn over her lifeless body at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the highest-profile militant attack to hit the troubled region in months. (AP)

The Taliban take responsibility for killing more than 100 Pakistani schoolchildren. We ask why there, why now.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment
 
Quinn Sullivan, LIVE In Our Studio
Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014

Fifteen-year old Quinn Sullivan is a humble, “ordinary” high school sophomore. But he’s also a blues guitar phenom. He brought his talents to the On Point studio today.

More »
Comment