The Hubble Telescope will receive its final upgrade from the crew of the space shuttle Atlantis, which lifts off this month. Hopefully these repairs will keep the orbiting telescope functioning for a few more years, when it will be replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope. But the JWST is an infared telescope only, so we will no longer be treated to the stunningly beautiful visual images of deep space that Hubble provided us. That’s sad.
The U. S. space program is struggling. The shuttle program will soon be retired, and its replacement will not be ready until 2015. In the meantime, American space travelers will have to hitch rides on Russian launch vehicles. JFK would be so disappointed to see his vision of space exploration come to this.