I share your frustration regarding our recent history in space. It goes back to the end of Apollo. The country quickly lost interest and they even had to do the Space Shuttle program on the cheap. (Full disclosure: NASA was a client of mine in the effort to return to flight after the Columbia incident.) I also know they could, if properly funded, prepare a new set of crews while simultaneously creating a vehicle for them. In fact, having the crew in place and engaged would likely spur development, as it did in Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo.