And Good Riddance, Too
Although Kid Various, just like all other 12 year olds, was thrilled when the space shuttle Columbia first lifted off from the Cape in 1981 - 25 years of operation have shown the shuttle program to be an amazingly expensive boondoggle that has a lousy safety record to boot. It never was able to deliver on what it promised (a reusable orbiter to get the costs down of launching payloads into orbit) and out of 5 orbiters built, we lost 2. This program has been a failure on just about every measurable level and basically demonstrates the general inability of government to innovate and manage large-scale projects.
Which is why The Kid will be celebrating the retirement of the Atlantis in 2008 and the general elimination of the program in 2014.
That's great. Now when do we get our space elevator?