I’m still young enough to say the shuttle program is older than me, yet I’m old enough to say I’ve lived through the vast majority of it’s 30 year run. I suspect it will be many years before we’re able to create something of nearly that quality again.
There is a very reasonable chance that nobody of my generation will every enter earths orbit on a NASA spacecraft. By the time NASA gets funding, develops a program and gets to the point of manned flight, they may be too old. Kennedy in 1961 challenged the US to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. By 1969 they were strolling on the moon. That was the entire programs length. It’s unlikely that NASA’s current roadmap to Mars by the mid-2030’s won’t be modified/scrapped by a future president. Even 2015 to start construction of a new heavy-lift vehicle is somewhat unlikely.
An amazing program despite it’s failures. Hopefully at some point we’ll get a successor together. 30 years is a long time. Technology has come a long way. If applied correctly, space exploration could be light years ahead of where it is today.