You are consumers.  You consume food, cars, computers, and (probably) way too many cell phones.  These things have a price curve.  Expensive when they first come out, lower when they get turned into a commodity or there’s a surplus, real low towards the end of their run, and then occasionally higher when there’s only a few left.

The Space Shuttle doesn’t fit neatly anywhere on that continuum, except for the “expensive” part.  It is a government program, sure, but would you be willing to ride a slightly-controlled bomb that had also been through cost-cutting measures?

Anyway, today’s cool tool is the Space Shuttle.  It has been called a space truck or a flying brick.  And it is going away.  Unless things change, Wednesday’s launch of Discovery (3:52 PM New York time) will be the next-to-last shuttle launch.  I haven’t been to see one go up, and probably won’t.

The shuttle was a platform for moving us to the next stage of space.  The space station doesn’t look as good as we had planned when we watched 2001, and we’re having to rent time on the Russian bus to get there, but we’re a lot closer than we were a quarter-century ago.

So if you’re in the mood, go pick yourself up a slightly used shuttle.  Only a few left, although one of them may have future uses.