We are now officially not the leading space agency in the world and I’d like to bid a fond farewell to the shuttles heading to static display (article found here). We are arguably second to Russia who can still get men and materiel to the International Space Station. For that matter, China is actively pursuing manned space flight as well striving to land on the moon and establish a space station separately from the international one. In fact, China’s space program plans to launch 21 rockets and 30 satellites in 2012 (found here). In contrast, according to NASA’s website (found here) we have only 7 domestic launches planned in 2012 with as many from Baikonur as well. So maybe we aren't even in second place.
We learned a great deal from out time in space. We gained so many modern conveniences from the lessons learned as we taught ourselves how to reach, navigate, and survive in the cold black of the vacuum. Now, we have abandoned one of the grandest adventures Man has ever undertaken to other countries. They are now learning new lessons. They are now bringing their people tremendous new innovations. They now control the high ground (from a military perspective). But most startling of all is they are now expanding the horizons of mankind as our representatives to the cosmos.
We have abdicated first place. It wasn’t taken from us someone decided to voluntarily give it up. When did the American spirit become one of surrender? When did the American way become one of giving up? When did America decide it’s okay to be second to any one in anything? But most of all, who is going to reclaim our legacy of hope, excellence, and leadership; and when will that person take the mantle of Leader?
cross posted on The Cavalier's Sword at firstchevalier.com