The very last Space Shuttle flight will take place on February 26, 2011. After that, American astronauts will have to bum rides with the Russians if they want to visit the International Space Station. Shame.
There’s two more missions aboard the Space Shuttle. There’s one on November 1, 2010 (Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-133) and the aforementioned February, 2011 one (Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-134).
Apparently Space Shuttle Atlantis may get one more flight, but Nasa will wait until next month before it decides one way or the other.
Both flights will bring various pieces of equipment to the ISS, chief among them the ALPHA MAGNETIC SPECTROMETER~! which is a type of cosmic ray detector that Nasa hopes will be used to better understand the formation and structure of the universe.
And yup, after this we’ll have no way of getting to the ISS without having to pay the Russians for a seat on one of their spacecraft—slightly embarrassing for a country as wealthy as the U.S. to not have an active space program, yes.