The US shuttle program lost in space

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When America’s space shuttle program ends in September, the U.S. will be completely dependent on Russian rockets for launching men and women into space — and bringing them back. But what will happen to America’s astronauts if relations between the U.S. and Russia sour?

Until American companies come to market with commercial rockets and launch vehicles to replace the shuttle, the only nation ever to put a man on the Moon won’t even be able to put a man into orbit. And that, experts tell, has the potential to be a “tragic mistake,” one that could hold America’s astronauts in orbit hostage to the whims of the Kremlin.

“The U.S. has surrendered its advantage in space, conceding the high ground to others who are probably our enemies,” said Jane Orient, a science policy expert and professor at the University of Arizona. “We are apparently leaving seven astronauts in space as hostages. Their loss would be a tragedy, but only a small part of the total disaster. It would symbolize the lack of respect that America has for its pioneers.”

Full story: – Lost in Space