May 16, 2011 4:26 PM by Matt Stafford

Shuttle program nearing the end, but a local group is working for the future

As Endeavour launched into the new frontier of space Monday morning, the United States government is preparing for a new frontier of space travel without using the shuttle. The three-decade old human transport-module to space is being retired after the final launch of Atlantis scheduled for June.

NASA has several unmanned projects that will continue, but sending people to space may be on hold. Janet Stevens, a Vice President with the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs says they're nervous, yet optimistic about the future.

Stevens says the U.S. will look at several options -- and likely some combination of them -- to get people to space in the future; the government could buy seats on the rockets of other countries (like Russia), develop a new transport method, or looking to what the private comes up with.

Locals NF5 spoke to say they definitely want to see the space program continue to flourish, but many say more private sector involvement would be a good thing. Some are worried that federal funding cuts would cause a loss in high tech jobs, but others say those jobs would just end up in the private sector.

Monday evening on News First 5 we'll talk more about the decision the country is facing, as well as how part of that process to move forward will take place in Colorado Springs.


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