The space shuttle Atlantis flew its last mission on Thursday. After 30 years, there will be no more shuttle missions as the last shuttle flight was completed. If NASA wants to fly astronauts to the Space Station, they will have to go aboard a Russian spacecraft. Forty years after President Kennedy set the goal of putting a man on the moon and safely returning him to earth, the United States is without a spacecraft.
This comes at a time when the United States is in danger of defaulting on it debt for the first time in its history. Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, has repeatedly stated that the United States will not be able to fund its obligations after August 2nd unless congress raises the federal debt ceiling. Currently, the Federal debt is over $14 trillion dollars with state and local governments owing another $3 trillion. Forecasts show that the government has another $114 trillion in unfunded future liabilities unless officials can agree on reforms to social security and medicare. At the moment, this does not seem likely.
Is the last shuttle flight the definitive "Jump the Shark" moment in US history? The United States government is swimming with debt. They have ownership in a space station that they can't get to unless they hitch a ride from the Russians. It's the equivalent to building a house on an island when you don't own a boat and you're not on the best of terms with your neighbor that does have a boat.