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The competition heats up: An official of SpaceX announced today that the company plans on its first manned launch by 2015, and that the astronauts will be its employees, not NASA’s.
Back when the shuttle program was still alive and NASA astronauts could have applied political pressure to keep it running, some said they should, if only to save their jobs. They did not, and instead toed the party line and supported the shuttle’s retirement even though no replacement was even close to being operational.
How’s that working out for you, guys, eh?
The truth is that there is no justification any longer for the astronaut corp at NASA. They have no vehicle, and any future space vehicle is going to be built and operated by others who will chose their own pilots.