Today was a sad day in an Era of Space travel ends. The Last Shuttle launch and into retirement. The United States does not have a space vehicle to replace the shuttle. The Constellation would not be ready until 2015 (but is not funded!)The "Orion Lite" that the current Administration proposes is just a rescue vehicle on the ISS. So NASA is left with the Russian program to transport our Astronauts to and from the ISS. Space X and other private compaines are not ready for Human Flight but are getting there. But when?
And it comes down to what we were doing for 30 years? LEO. Did we explore? Yes, we did explore with probes to the far planets and rovers on Mars. But Man has been stuck in Lower Earth Orbit for a long time. We need to come back with a vision that will lead to a plan of exploring the unknown. Our future depends on it.