Washington (CNN) - NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says that human space flight for America will not end with the retirement of the shuttle program. Instead, the space agency plans to refocus its efforts from lower-orbit vehicles to deeper space probes.
"Today NASA and the nation want to touch an asteroid and eventually send humans to Mars," he told a luncheon crowd at the National Press Club on Friday.
Bolden touted two new NASA programs that will eventually "open up the entire solar system to us."
Editor's note: Atlantis' journey to the International Space Station will be NASA's 135th and final mission in the space shuttle program, which began 30 years ago. Tune in Friday, July 8 at 10 p.m. ET after the final space shuttle launch for "CNN Presents: Beyond Atlantis."
Houston, Texas (CNN) - Days after the 1986 Challenger disaster, Lorna Onizuka's daughter approached her with a strange request.
Darien, 9, had just lost her father, Ellison Onizuka, a mission specialist aboard the ill-fated shuttle.
"She said, 'I want you to die today,' " her mother, Lorna Onizuka recalled. "I was ... stunned, and before I could say anything, she said, 'But you can come alive on Tuesday.' "
Lorna Onizuka asked her daughter why she wanted her to temporarily die.
"And she said, 'Because I need to ask Daddy some things, then he can be dead again and you can come alive,' " she recalled.
Onizuka, now 61, says her daughter's request opened her eyes to "the pain and anguish in children that you cannot fix."
"As parents we're fixers. And you can't fix those things. It's just time," she said.
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July 19thAtlas V launch of US DOD MUOS-2 satellite, notable for large "551" config of Atlas
Aug 3rdJapanese HTV-4 flight to ISS on cargo supply mission
Aug 14thSpaceX launch of Canadian satellite in the first launch from their new Vandenberg facility, and first launch of upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle
Aug 28thDelta IV Heavy launch of NROL-65 spy satellite
SeptemberSoyuz TMA-08M flight returning Expedition 36 crew from ISS to Earth (Kazakhstan)
Sept 12thOrbital Sciences maiden flight of Cygnus cargo vehicle on Antares rocket to ISS
Sept 25thSoyuz TMA-10M flight launching Expedition 38 crew to ISS
Dec 9thSpaceX Dragon launch by Falcon 9 v1.1 on CRS-3 cargo supply mission to ISS
recurringfirst powered test flights of Scaled Composites' SpaceShipTwo commercial vehicle, to be used by Virgin Galactic for sub-orbital tourism