NASA: The Next Generation

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    The nation’s space agency has budgeted more than half a billion dollars to cover retirement funds due to thousands of workers at a long-term shuttle contractor.

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    With the final space shuttle flying, many wonder, what’s next? Well, tighten your seat belt. The second great space race is about to begin and it could shave two to three years off astronauts' down time without something American to fly.

  • Artist rendering of the Sierra Nevada Corp. Dream Chaser, which justreceived $80 million from NASA. It is one of the new generation ofprivate-sector space vehicles that will carry humans and cargo to theInternational Space Station.

    The space agency is leaving the low-orbit travel to the private sector and focusing its R&D efforts on exploring deep space.

  • Space Shuttle Endeavour

    From Florida's Space Coast to contractors in Connecticut and Georgia. jobs and business will be lost — some, probably forever.

  • Buzz Aldrin stands on moon surface with US flag during Apollo 11 mission.

    The end of NASA’s space shuttle program will limit U.S. manned flight in the short term but is unlikely to threaten the country's long-term competitiveness in the space sector.

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    Our special report, "NASA: The Next Generation," explores  the impact of the space shuttle's end to the future of the agency and America's place in space.

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    Supporters say it is premature without a replacement to the space craft, while opponents say the returns don't justify the cost. 

  • NASA: The Next Generation - A CNBC Special Report

    Is space exploration a wise investment given the nation's budget problems?

  • NASA: The Next Generation - A CNBC Special Report

    Amidst calls for deep government spending cuts, the privatization of the space age may be the solution.  

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    The fear in the area surrounding Kennedy Space Center is that when the Shuttle program ends this month, it will become the "Ghost Coast".

  • This July, the agent of American space exploration better known as NASA, will launch its last shuttle - marking the final flight for the 30-year program, and quite possibly, the end of an era in film. Worlds beyond our own have served as fodder for a national fascination, most dramatically reflected on the silver screen. Since the first American went into space, filmmakers as well as audiences have embraced the astronaut-as-hero narrative in present, future, and even animated forms. Starting in

    Have we lost our connection to the cosmos? Click back in time to see 12 movies that chronicle our story of space.

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    How much do you know about NASA's space program? Take our quiz.

  • Last Space Shuttle Launch

    CNBC looks at whether the last space shuttle launch will mark the final frontier of space exploration. CNBC's Tom Mackenzie reports.

  • What does the future hold for technology? If Cisco's "Chief Futurist" Dave Evans is correct, it will be the stuff of science fiction. Literally. Everything from unfathomably fast computers to teleportation will crop up in the next few decades. And it's not just technology that will change. Information itself will change, according to Evans. By 2060, he predicts that 95 percent of what we know will have been discovered in the last 50 years. So what we know today will make up only 5 percent of our

    What does the future hold for technology? If Cisco's "Chief Futurist" Dave Evans is correct, it will be the stuff of science fiction. Literally.

  • Contracted in 2010: $35.9 billion* Total 2010 revenue: $45.8 billion Contracted in 2011, so far: $15.74 billion  Headquartered Lockheed’s dependence on contracts from the U.S. Government is no secret. The company researches, designs, develops and manufactures satellites, space vehicles, combat aircraft, missile defense systems, aeronautics and intelligence systems, which are essentially out of the scope of non-government consumers. Lockheed’s biggest contracts in 2010 included a $2.51 billion co

    As the U.S. moves closer to the so-called "Fiscal Cliff", big ticket government spending areas like defense programs are likely to be at the center of the debate.

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    In the past half-century scientific advances and innovation have transformed our world, how much do you know about innovation?

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    Predicting where NASA's falling space junk will touch down has proven as difficult as figuring out HP's next move. Both involve unstructured data.

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    Excalibur Almaz will charge wannabe astronauts an average of £100 million for a six to eight month journey exploring deep space