farewell to space dreams ?

The demise of the American Shuttle program, may very well mean the end of the dream of humanity to reach space, at least for this generation. Once may hope that others, maybe the Russians or the Chinese, shall take the lead, but at the moment, no one appears to be too enthusiastic to make bold and obligatory statements, of the type of the late J.F. Kennedy, promising a man on the moon by the end of that glorious decade.

I know I lament, but one cannot thinking on these lines, remembering the glorious past, as seen for example in this NASA's image -

And then seeing these last image, representing this end to an era: 
(the last voyage of Atlantis, a space shuttle that has spent 307 days in space and traveled nearly 126 million miles during its 33 flights, quoted from NASA's image of the day).

When one hears of the current U.S difficulties with debt, budget and responsibility, one cannot help but feel that this generation has lost its chance with space.

May the next generations do a better job.