The grand era of exclusively federally-funded space exploration is over. Nasa must now boldly go into public-private partnershipOn Tuesday 17 April, Space Shuttle Discovery took to the air one last time, piggy-backing aboard a modified jumbo jet. She touched down at Washington Dulles Airport, on the final leg of her last mission, which, when complete, will see her installed as a museum exhibit at the Air and Space Museum in Virginia.This is the epilogue to the space shuttle story: a 30-year programme of human space exploration that drew to a close last summer as Atlantis and the crew of STS 135 taxied to a halt on the tarmac at Kennedy Space Center.With an eye on the future, Nasa has set a new course – one that has seen it abandon the shuttle now that construction of the International Space Station is complete. Its new focus is on the goal of...
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