The Japanese Experiment Module Kibo is now on orbit and installed onto the ISS and activated. Congratulations Japan and their newest astronaut, Aki Hoshide! My good friend Koichi Wakata will be flying the first Japanese long duration flight early next year. Enthusiasm there is very high.
What is the future of government space? China will launch the Shenzhou 7 mission later this year (probably October), after the Olympics. The US will retire the Shuttle in 2010. What will become of the Constellation program and Orion after the elections in November? Countries like Japan and the members of ESA are totally dependent on US and Russian assets for manned access to space. After 2010, the Russians will be the only government game in town, except for China, which has so far been rebuffed in their desire to be an ISS partner.
What does the future hold?