At first I did not know what to think of the last shuttle flight.
On the one hand the Space Shuttle was a cool project, that I followed from my childhood days, and pretty much the only thing going on in manned space flight recently (besides the international Space Station, but the two are interrelated).
On the other hand the Space Shuttle program had a pretty atrocious record of safety, with both the Challenger and the Columbia blowing up in under 200 flights. Amazingly, Israel can now note the death of one of its fighter pilots, Ilan Ramon, in a Space Shuttle flight: STS 107.
That's when I read the Economist leader from June 30th. According to this leader: "Inner space (UM: Earth's atmosphere) is useful. Outer space is history", they also say that this is: "The end of the Space Age".
On the other hand I listened to the guys from http://www.spacevidcast.com/ talk on Dr kiki's science hour. They were very cheerful, and said something along the lines of: "now that NASA and fat government is out of the way, the time for private space flight is here, and it is very exciting!"
I'm not sure who I'm going to believe in this debacle, but one thing is for sure: I want manned space flight to go on. And I'm willing to put my own time and effort into it, not that I know anything about the subject.
So to end all this, I just found out that one of Israel's SF guys wants to fly a computer into space. I'm following him, and you may too.
This is his Hebrew blog: http://nicecriticalmass.blogspot.com/