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Cut and run or stay the course? Sounds like the ongoing debate over what to do about the Iraq war, but this week, it's about the future of the nation's embattled space shuttle.

On the Newshour last night, NASA Watch's Keith Cowing (in his second Newshour appearance of the week) and NASA historian Prof. Alex Roland
squared off on what to do about the shuttle program now. (Their discussion also included a few points about the international treaties involved in the space station effort.)

And Jeff Foust reports on ongoing
negotiations in Congress on the shuttle retirement date in light of NASA's decision to ground the orbiters.

Jeff wonders if NASA's decision will "prompt more calls for an early retirement of the fleet, or be ammunition for those who believe there's no way the shuttle can be retired as early as 2010 and still get the ISS (mostly) assembled?"

And while we debate whether it's all worth the effort, here's a clip of Discovery's beautiful
backflip before docking with the station. (Viewing this spectacular feat makes me wonder: How did keeping the darn foam up on the tank turn out to be the hard part?)

Meanwhile, with the shuttle stuck again in groundspace, heads up, everyone: The high-flying duo of Richard Branson and Burt Rutan announced the launch of their
new spaceship company.

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