Today is the birthday of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which began operations October 1, 1958. I was born in 1963, and I was brought up watching the Apollo program unfold. The excitement of the moon launches and landings gave way to the space shuttle program, during which space launches and landings became routine, with the notable exceptions of the Challenger and Columbia disasters.
Now we have a permanent human presence in space at the International Space Station, though the United States no longer has the means of independently reaching it, a sad state of affairs for a once proud space program. NASA continues to explore space, but now with an emphasis on robotic, rather than human exploration, which just isn't quite as exciting, though it is undoubtedly cheaper.