Goals for the
2000s have included construction of the X-30, designed to take off
from a conventional runway and boost itself into orbit using powerful
ramjet engines. With setbacks such as the malfunction of the Hubble
Space Telescope and leaks in the hydrogen fuel lines of the space shuttle,
the US space programme seems less likely to attain all its aims.
Although the space programme is making progress, more
ambitious programmes, such as the establishment of a lunar base or the
exploration of Mars by astronauts, are years from realization.