NASAs future Retire shuttle fleet, focus on next generation: [Final Edition]

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NJ EditorialAGENDA 2005 Growth Management Atrue space program is about exploration by any imaginable means possible. NASAs unmanned crafts voyaging across the solar system and beyond over the last four decades, and the literally limitless discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope, showed physical boundaries to be as relative as time. A true space program is also about sending astronauts into space. NASAs record on that score is stellar, too, first with the Apollo program and its six manned missions to the Moon, then with Skylab in the mid-1970s, the space shuttle since 1982, the building of the international space station since 1998, and manning the station uninterruptedly, with Russian cosmonauts, since November 2000. Setbacks have not been few nor easy to forget among them the fire atop the Apollo 1 rocket that killed the crew of three during a training exercise in 1967, the Challenger explosion after launch in 1986, and the disintegration of Columbia on re-entry 2 1/2 years ago. But tragic setbacks will probably always be part of space exploration. So far, tragedy hasnt been disc...

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