Update: A previous post has additional space linkage.
is a great op-ed piece by Rand Simberg on the recent cutting of the new spaceplane funding.
He points out that the halting of this program is not necessarily a bad thing. I tend to agree.
The spaceplane as currently proposed is little more than a highly advanced version of the '60s Dynasoar
this is something of a retrogade step compared to the shuttle.
Launch costs are likely to be higher than for Apollo style capsules. The plane has to be refurbished after each flight.
There is little commercial viability to such a design that can't be done cheaper with a disposable system.
The early designs of the shuttle were much more impressive
Warning: big picture-rich link.
My utter lay-person opinion is that the Govt. should engage in X-Programs andPrizes
Failing a break from the current model a fully reusable shuttle either one or two stages could be built. NASA and industry designed these in the sixties and 70's before the shuttle was cut back to its present flawed form. (The early designs had neither solid rocket boosters nor the external tank the two items that killed 14 of our best between them)
These old designs with modern materials would be a real step forward.
Of course the big story in the Simberg article is the persistent rumor that the POTUS is planning a big space policy speech on the centennial of the Wright Brothers first flight.
Update: Correction, changed spelling error (Space Stubble is that 5 o'clock shadow that astronauts get 'cause they can't shave or bathe easily not the US Space transportation System....I regret any confusion this caused)
Update 2: Welcome! Belligerent Bunny Fans!