As a kid, I watched Space 1999 and read both 2001 and 2010. When I started professionally writing game scenarios in the early 1990s, I set some adventures on the moon and envisioned that we would have a base there by 2010.
When 1999 arrived, it was obvious that a moon base was not going to happen. When the world failed to end in 2001, it was also obvious that nothing like the Discovery would be built. In 2010, there was no real hope for a moon base. Now that 2011 is here, we won’t even have the space shuttles in operation anymore. In short, if Space 2011 were a show, its lameness would be intergalactic in scope. Naturally, I am only a bit shamed that some of my predictions in the 1990s were so wrong.
Naturally, I am inclined to wonder why there has been so little progress in regards to space. One obvious answer is that as a species we seem obsessed with fighting each other and wasting our time, lives and resources on petty dominance games and absurd conflicts over dirt, oil, and make-believe. As such, rather than expanding into space, we have been working very hard to make this world into a bloody nightmare. This seems unlikely to change.
Second, while some corporations see space as potentially profitably (there is, after all, an entire universe out there), most prefer to stick with business here on earth. Selling people chips, beer, cars, and TVs tends to be more profitable than doing things with space (other than communication satellites and such, of course). However, there are some companies who do see space as a potential money maker, if only for tourism and satellites. Of course, this does not do a great deal in terms of allowing us to become a space-faring species, rather than being a bunch of pants wearing monkeys squatting on a ball of dirt and water.
Third, technology is a serious limiting factor. While we now have hand held devices (for watching porn and being narcissists) that are vastly more powerful than the computers used in early space flight, the technology for lunching vehicles and moving them through space has advanced very little. There has been little incentive to improve things and, of course, the laws of physics certainly impose some serious limits. In fact, it might be the case that expansion into space is actually physically impossible. That is, maybe a ship simply cannot be built that could actually reach another star. As such, perhaps we are doomed to remain here until extinction puts an end to us, maybe in the form of a big rock smacking into our ball of dirt and water.