'Houston, we've had a problem'
April 12th, 2011
05:33 PM ET

'Houston, we've had a problem'

The idea that "home of manned spaceflight" won't be home to one of NASA's retired shuttles isn't sitting so well with some.

The Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, was considered a strong contender to receive one of four retired space shuttles.

Instead, the honors have gone to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida (Atlantis); the California Science Center in Los Angeles (Endeavour); the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia (Discovery); and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York (Enterpise), NASA administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. said Tuesday.

Many in Space City are none too pleased by the snub, considering the role it has played in the development of the nation's space program.

Columnists and blogs, including Jalopnik, are weighing in on "Why Houston Deserved a Damn Space Shuttle," and the news has prompted the Twittersphere to make #JSC, #Houston and #spaceshuttle trending topics in the hours since NASA made the announcement.

"Sad day in Houston," CopyDRcom tweeted, summing up the prevailing sentiments of disappointment over the decision, particularly among many who claim some connection to Johnson Space Center.

"As a former JSC co-op student/employee, I must say, in my most composed manner possible, WHAT THE HELL, NASA HQ? >:/" former JSC employee juliamontgomery said.

"Personally I am disappointed Houston/ JSC didn't get a Shuttle & from a space history standpoint deserved one. But again not surprised," ISS flight controller greg_forest said.

"Before astronauts ever boarded a space shuttle, they trained in Houston. When they orbited Earth, they phoned home to Houston," Lisa_llbc86 tweeted. "I have pickup truck. I'll sneak Endeavour back to #JSC. That's how we do it in TX"

Others, however,  felt the appropriate locations were selected.

"While I'm sad JSC isn't getting a orbiter, lot more people will see them in their chosen destinations :/," self-proclaimed "space nut" @ericmblog tweeted.

"#Shuttle destinations seem very reasonable. Glad #OV104 will be staying at home. 😉 Shame for #Adler, #JSC, but no perfect solution," astrodad said.

soundoff (239 Responses)
  1. twistedpickle

    Houston is and always will be the MISSION CONTROL CENTER, and home for the human aspect of the space program. It is a disgrace that this country HAS FAILED to reward all the people who worked so hard in accomplishing the space program. I find it DISRESPECTFUL, UNLOYAL, and an abominable DISGRACE that Houston was not selected. THIS IS A SNUB that sends very BAD SIGNALS throughout the nation, directed straight towards the astronauts and all the heroes who died in the program. It is a DEEP STAB IN THE BACK of those who deserve it the most!

    April 12, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • No respect

      Here's an idea. Since NASA has shown NYC more love, lets have the NYC air traffic controllers run those last two missions...

      April 12, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wayne

    I say we split the disputed shuttle into two parts. Texas gets the front end and, well, New York gets.

    April 12, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Wayne

    and then we switch ends.

    April 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. twistedpickle

    The next shuttle commander ought to take the thing and land it at Ellington Field. Then it would be fun to see who dares to try to take something from a lotta gun totin' Texans!

    April 12, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. morgan

    I shouldn't be shocked that so many people lambasted Houston, probably most of whom haven't even ever been here. And then to make it more about the people who live here or who they voted for or the lack of whatever in the city just shows how uneducated those people are. There are some things I definitey don't like about Houston but facts are facts ... it is one of the fastest growing cities in America and just fell short of taking over Chicago to become the third largest city in America. People continue to move here because the cost of living is relatively low and jobs are more readily available than in other parts of the country. A large cross section of adults are highly educated and vote Democrat. And it's home to the largest medical center, most theater seats second only to NY, premier museums and one of the top private universities in the nation. This is a very caring city, having opened its arms to more than 500,000 New Orleanians who were left devastated by Katrina. But with that in mind, this decision was politically motivated and our mayor has not done her job in helping to make sure things like this help shine a positive light on this city, nor by keeping jobs here, be it JSC or Continental Airlines (oddly enough, ended up being based in Chicago, hometown of the president - and I voted for him so don't go getting any ideas that I'm some Republican out to bash the big O, although I have my issues with him too but that's for another post). If you think about the history of the space program, it does make sense that California, Florida and D.C. would get one. And the fourth should have been Houston. But a decision has been made and so it is. But for those of you who are bashing Houston and the people who live here, perhaps you shouldn't generalize because not all of us look at cows all day long, are illegal aliens, are uneducated, work for big oil, support Rick Perry or his desire to secede or any other moronic thing some have posted.

    April 12, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      That was great but you can't preach to the blind sheep. That what happens when you win the war "civil war" you write the history. They have been told that Texas has no grass, no cars, everybody rides horses etc. Each town has one school K-12. What crazy that a bunch of uneducated rednecks has out perform the "smart" states.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Olivia

    Honestly, even though it was upsetting that Houston didn't get a shuttle, I'm not making a big deal out of it, but reading some of these comments truly disgust me. Houston is a growing city with many jobs and although not the best place to live, it's definitely not a bad city. And seriously, you make yourself look ignorant by making jokes about southerners being stupid and hick? I mean seriously this is 2011 and we're a major city that's extremely liberal and has a great education system. Say what you want about the shuttle, even about Texas and its politics, but please do some of us a favor and don't generalize all southerners.

    April 12, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ryan

    I hope when they place the shuttle on board the USS intrepid I hope the ship sinks in the harbor.

    April 12, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ed Bailey

    Houston is not my favorite place but, history is history! Houston, we have a problem!!!!!

    April 12, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. larry

    Texas is between the East Coast and the West Coast, the logical place for a space shuttle would have been the South Coast! Texas is not only the second largest state, it passed New York a few years ago as the second most populous state in the nation. Houston is the fourth largest state and soon will pass Chicago as the third largest city in America. Four of the ten largest cities are in Texas, Austin is 14th and gaining, and will have five of the ten largest cities in America. Houston is Oil and Energy Capital of the World, the world runs on oil and gas. Texas is rich, rich in money, it is culturally on the same level as New York and Los Angeles, and the state and city lead the nation in jobs and growth in the economy. The future belongs to Texas and Houston, Chicago and New York are losing people, they are all fleeing to the sunbelt states. The center of this exodus is Texas and Houston, the new King of the South is Houston and it will just get bigger and better. Houston and the space program are one and the same, Obama will not be able to blot out Houston or Texas. It's sad that he did, there are a lot of angry rich Democrat Contributers in Houston and Texas and the new saying is, Washington you now have a big problem in Texas!

    April 13, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. JetsetTech

    I agree with Jay "Why Houston didn't get a space shuttle: because nobody goes to Houston. You're competing against New York, LA, Orlando and Washington DC: four of the best tourist destinations in the country."

    And I disagree with Robin, who is more that likely a white female who thinks any person of color is gunning for her (hence her reference to D.C.) forgive America if they do not fancy 40 ounce steaks, 10 gallon hats, state associate with the assassination of Americas greatest president in history, and its unrelenting tale of the of how they stood their ground against the Mexicans at the Alamo (cause from what I see demographically they are taking it back) oh yeah did I mention Texans are prejudice? let us not think what a tourist would encounter after taking a wrong turn and ended up in a rural town, and they happened not to be white, cause the response is almost equivalent to being white while driving in East L.A., but a lynching might be included. In conclusion to all of this, it comes down to location, and who the H*ll wants to be stuck in Texas for the summer? at least Las Vegas has gaming, and an abundance of great shows.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:11 am | Report abuse |
    • CH

      The DC murder rate is a fact not any slander towards any particular race. Oh by the way, you forgot to mention that we all ride horses to work and have an oil derrick in our backyard. Nice play of the race card. I will send you some delicious Texas salsa to go with that chip on your shoulder.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. DestinyRider

    The first word on the moon was NOT "Houston". Armstrong and Aldrin went through a whole checklist before the word Houston came up.

    Also, it was a machine BUILT BY NEW YORKERS THAT GOT THEM there. The Lunar Modual was built by the Gruman Corporation of Bethpage, NEW YORK.

    The USS Intrepid museum is directly next to the 4th largest passenger ship docking facilty in America, used by almost a million people a year. One million people came and went on cruise ships and passed the exact spot they want to park the shuttle. and that is only 1/48th of the number of people who visted New York City last year. That's right, 48 million people came to New york City last year.

    It's not history that decided where anything went. It's about where you can park them where they'd get the most visitors. If you went to Times Square and saw a Broadway show, came out, and went west 4 city blocks, BOOM, Space shuttle. The middle of a class A++ world city.

    the JSC is 25 miles from downtown houston.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:11 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dan B.

    Umm hey fellow Texans. I'm from Houston, but I know geography. Orlando isn't on a coast. Florida is just as much on the Gulf Coast as Texas. There's as many people in the Northeast (between Boston and DC) as there are between El Paso and Florida. And Texas doesn't need to spend $29 million for the "privilege" of a shell of a shuttle, especially when we'd have to pay for a climate controlled building for it. It wouldn't draw enough people from IAH to Clear Lake to pay for it. Let some other state pay the money.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. seal

    Houston the "Space City" didn't get a shuttle but NY city does... it just has to be one of the dumbest decisions to put one in NY. Maybe they should put the 9/11 memorial in Orlando, since they get more tourists there.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. B lo me

    What about Arizona?

    April 13, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  15. RickJames

    Good gosh,, isnt there enough left over space crap to load up Houston till the end of time? Give them the jet that hauls the shuttles around,,, not much use for that any more.

    April 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
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