NBC correspondent Jay Barbree of Merritt Island, who covered his first rocket launch from the Space Coast in 1957 and on Thursday covered the end of America’s fourth manned program, took a look back and ahead.
Barbree covered all 166 human spaceflight launches from Brevard County and the end of the shuttle program struck a chord.
"It’s sort of like a divorce, you feel like you’re going through a divorce, something very special in your life is over with,” he said.
"Our course I felt the same way when Apollo was over with and Gemini and Mercury. But the big difference between today and then was that we had a specific program, a specific spacecraft to go to.”
Barbree, 77, sees commercial space interests as having a bright future.
"I’m enthused after talking with Space X. They are trying to get permission to fly a Dragon (rocket) to the International Space Station loaded with the cargo before the end of the year, They feel pretty confident that they’ll be able to go get that flag off the space station with a crew in 2014. I wish them luck. I wish all the commercial guys luck."
Barbree also believes the future lies in heavy lift and multi-purpose spacecraft.
“I’d like to see that resolved so that we can continue the true exploration of NASA in space.”