NASA announces homes for space shuttles
Columbia becomes the first space shuttle to launch on April 12, 1981. It later disintegrated over Texas during re-entry in 2003.
April 12th, 2011
01:57 PM ET

NASA announces homes for space shuttles

NASA's space shuttles are bound for New York, Los Angeles, the Washington area and Cape Canaveral, Florida, in retirement, the space agency announced Tuesday.

More than 20 locations around the country had vied to call the retiring orbiters their home.

Space shuttle Discovery will go to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, outside Washington. Discovery's last mission ended March 9. The shuttle is undergoing a decommissioning process in which all toxic materials are removed and the orbiter is prepared for display.

Currently on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center is the Enterprise, the prototype shuttle built but never flown in space. Enterprise was used to fly approach and landing tests and also for vibration tests on the ground. It will eventually go to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York.

Atlantis will go to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. Atlantis' last flight is scheduled for June 28.

Endeavour, NASA's youngest orbiter, will go to California Science Center in Los Angeles. Endeavour's last flight, which is scheduled for April 29, will be commanded by Mark Kelly. His wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was severely injured in a mass shooting in January in Tucson, Arizona, but she reportedly has said she hopes to attend the launch.

Space shuttles Challenger and Columbia and their crews were lost in service in 1986 and 2003, respectively.

Tuesday's announcement by NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. comes on the 50th anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's historic flight as the first human in space and the 30th anniversary of the first shuttle flight.

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Filed under: Shuttle • Space
soundoff (392 Responses)
  1. International Student...fed up of Communist Obama!!!!

    Of course Obama gets handle for everything where he sees an opportunity to garner votes from here, from there and from everywhere.

    All winner cities are liberal bastions. No doubt why Texas was left out...but even here he's growing his breed of Hispanics. Once he gives them citizenship, they all can vote for him and he can give back to them all the money by taking from middle and upper class.

    All real Americans, citizens, residents or hopefuls who believe in American dream, Capitalism and true pursuits, should remember the assault on American dream that Obama is making. 2012 remember, please!

    April 12, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Space Inclined

    While it does seem unfair to Houston that they did not get a shuttle, three of the selections were dead on. Discovery at the NASM Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center (Chantilly, VA), Atlantis at Kennedy Space Center, and Endeavor in LA (Granted that LA is earthquake prone). The disposition of Enterprise, currently at the Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center, to the Intrepid Museum seems the poor choice of the bunch as Enterprise certainly would have been better suited in Houston or at the USAF Museum in Dayton, OH.

    Long story short is that this was not AS political as everyone is making it out to be. It largely involved who had the money, who's exhibit plans were not hair brained, the amount of visitation they would receive (NYC, LA, and the DC metro area do edge out most other cities in the country for both national and international travelers), along with preventing inter service rivalry (You know if the Air Force got a Shuttle, the Navy would be ticked), and NASA's limited budget (Did anyone really expect that NASA would keep two shuttles when the cost of detoxing them and moving them is so high?). It will be interesting to see how things unfold.

    Lastly, don't forget the two shuttles that have no home and the sacrifice made by those crews for the betterment of humanity.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cisco ASA

    hello!,I love your writing so much! share we be in contact extra approximately your article on AOL? I need an expert in this house to solve my problem. Maybe that is you! Looking ahead to peer you.

    December 9, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
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