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
May 26, 2015
Blogger and activist Pamela Geller speaks at a conference she organized entitled “Stop Islamization of America,” in New York on Sept. 11, 2012. (David Karp/AP)

Two new books on free speech–one by a former New York Times correspondent, the other a Fox News contributor. They don’t see eye to eye—and tell us why.

May 26, 2015
The Last Unicorn, by William DeBuys

With guest host Jane Clayson. Endangered species and the search for one of the world’s rarest creatures deep into the wilds of central Laos. Guests William DeBuys, Conservationist and author of The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth’s Rarest Creatures.  Azzedine Downes, CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. (@AzzedineTDownes) Reading List The New York […]

RECENT
SHOWS
May 25, 2015
Violinist Regina Carter warms up in the On Point studio on Friday, October 17. (Robin Lubbock / WBUR)

Regina Carter turns her jazz violin down home with her new album “Southern Comfort.”

 
May 25, 2015
New York Times columnist David Brooks explores a history of American moral character in his new book, "The Road to Character." Former US Labor Secretary Frances Perkins (R), is one of the subjects he profiles in his books. (David Burnett / AP)

New York Times columnist David Brooks on finding moral character in a self-preoccupied society.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
1 Comment
 
Caller: ‘It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Okay’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One caller shares her own story of an extremely premature birth. Her daughter, born at 22 1/2 weeks in 2012, was taken off life support after seven days.

More »
Comment