There has been recent talk of extending the life of the Space Shuttle past it’s retirement date since it is one of the best vehicles to get supplies to the ISS and do other space related tasks including repairing broken satellites that are orbiting.
The Shuttle is set to retire in 2010 however with the new Ares rocket come in 2014 that means there would be a 4 year gap of us having to depend on other nations: Japan, China, and Russia. I think it would be very prudent for the Congress to approve extra funding to allow concurrent use of the Space Shuttle until 2013 along with the resources to still develop the Ares rocket at 100% development. The other altertive is to incress the funding of the Ares rocket development up ten folds or up to the level of funding (plus inflation) times two that the Apollo project got when proposed by President Kennedy to remove a 4 year gap into a 1 to 2 year gap.
But as far as I can tell, the Space Shuttle has proven itself to be a great vechile and it should not be overlooked for extending it’s life. Risking making a flaw in the Ares rocket would be costly to human life if we rush such an important project that will return us to the Moon and Beyond.