NASA has done a great job, they got us all to this point.
Now, NASA's strategy and role needs to change, their funding must change, it's way overdue, they know it, we know it.
To their great credit, they are doing it, they are adapting and embracing the change; it's hard for them, an era is ending.
Space is big, the opportunities are literally infinite, but science budgets are always way too small, efficiency matters.
So we cut the well known tech and commercially viable elements loose from the taxpayers dollar.
Let whatever NASA morphs into, fund and guide the basic research and science, spend more on that, less on vehicles.
That's the stuff NASA does well, the right stuff, basic research, initial exploration, the stuff that shareholders and businessmen looking at next quarters results typically do poorly.
NASA exploration vehicles and science packages can buy rides on whatever commercial launchers they need, at the going rate.
We buy planes and ships, trains and trucks from commercial vendors, shipyards, and aviation companies, so whats different?
Clear out the cold war, legacy buck rogers, pointy spaceship with fins thinking, and move onto real space-drives, profitable commercialization and real sustainable colonization.
As for the shuttle.... well I am as jingoistic as the next fella, I admire their bravery just getting into the thing (i think i would be terrified, but i'd also go...)
However... continually launching the mass of 7 people crammed into a vehicle that has twice failed, killing the entire crew...
Empirically, it seems obvious that the efficient way to do successful science in space is, small fast vehicles, robotics and AI's; humans should only boldly go... when their is a proven and compelling reason to do so, and little expectation of them making it back alive if anything fails.
Spirit and Opportunity did more, for far less, for far longer... than any human crew could likely have done.
That's the kind of research I want my tax-money to fund. Efficient hard science.
So lets figure out how to mine and move asteroids, survive indefinitely in deep space, harvest the oort cloud, build CHON Food factories, go where the resources are available, easy pickings...
If we want to get off this unguided mud-ball, we must adapt to new strategies as necessary, however hard they may be.