Popular Mechanics reports: "When NASA requested designs for a Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), two major teams--one headed by Lockheed Martin and one by Northrop Grumman and Boeing--took on the challenge. The winning concept will be chosen in 2008, and the manned vehicle flown in 2014."
Its about time that NASA is replacing the space shuttle. It has been a great space vehicle, but now its time to see what is next. What I really want to see is warp drive engines, and phasers on the next shuttle. :-)
The new safety systems for the new proposed design are pretty cool. Althought they probably add a lot of extra wieght to the shuttle. I believe the final design of the shuttle will problably not include all the proposed safety systems to save on weight and money.
But this is just my humble opinion...