"I don't want us to concentrate on retiring the shuttle because we're really transitioning to the next vehicle," said Parsons.
During the five-year "gap" between shuttle and Constellation, the U.S. will depend on the Russian Soyuz capsule for transport to the $100 billion International Space Station. The Soyuz, however, has developed a technical glitch that could slow its flights. Plus, the Russian attack on the nation of Georgia could hamper agreements that allow NASA to contract with Russia for transport to the station.
"It was a horrible plan to be dependent on the Russians," said Feeney.
He touted a new willingness in Congress to allocate more money for NASA, which has been opposed by the Bush administration.
Let's hope this keeps the Shuttle running a little bit longer.