October 18th, 2011
09:35 AM ET

Where to put a space shuttle?

Folks in Texas who are close to the space program were not happy from the get-go. Here they were, home to the Johnson Space Center, Mission Control, the Astronaut Corp., and they didn’t get one of NASA’s retired space shuttles.

They were angry. “No city in the world deserves an orbiter more than Houston, Texas,” said U.S. Representative Pete Olson from Texas.

Now, they are even angrier. “It’s a bait and switch,” U.S. Representative Ted Poe told CNN. Why does Poe say that?

At a cost of nearly $30 million dollars a piece, dozens of museums bid for one of the retired space shuttles. New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on the Hudson River was one of the winners. It gets Enterprise, a test shuttle that never flew into space, currently at the Smithsonian.

That’s what got Texans angry to begin with. Poe says, “New York - God Bless them - they’re a wonderful city, but they have no connection to the space program and no connection to NASA, so why would the shuttle go to New York? It’s like putting the Statue of Liberty in Omaha.”

What set Texans off again and sparked the “bait and switch” remark is the Intrepid Museum’s plan for housing the shuttle Enterprise.

Back in May of 2010, before the shuttles were awarded, here’s what the museum’s director Susan Marenoff-Zausner told CNN: “On the west end of the pier we currently have the Concorde. And we would look to shift the placement of the Concorde and place the shuttle in that spot.”

Well, all that has apparently changed. The new plan is to construct a building for the Enterprise not on the pier but across a busy highway on land the museum doesn’t yet own. The land is now a parking lot next to a car wash, warehouses and a bagel shop. A walk bridge over the highway would connect the main museum to the Enterprise Building.

Back when the museum was still lobbying for a shuttle, officials there were more than anxious to talk with us. Now, they turned down our request for an interview. Instead, they issued a statement, “We look forward to Enterprise’s arrival at the Intrepid, which will quickly become New York City’s newest landmark and seen by millions of visitors to our great city. While we continue to be in the planning stages, we remain on track with both our logistics and our fundraising.”

But, it’s not what they promised. Says Representative Poe: “Time to re-open the bidding process again because the person that got the bid really isn’t fulfilling the obligation that they agreed to. So, re-evaluate it.”

You often hear the expression, “location, location, location.” Location is one of the primary reasons NASA selected New York. The space agency wants its retired shuttles to be seen by as many eyeballs as possible. New York has a huge advantage there.

NASA’s Administrator Charles Bolden seems fine with New York’s new plan and location saying, “I don’t tell them how to suck eggs. You know, they gave us a plan. They told us they would have the money. They gave us a schedule and everything and as far as I know, they’re on schedule and so I trust them that they’re gonna deliver what they said.”

It will be at least a year before any of the retired shuttles are delivered to museums. Atlantis will stay in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center. Endeavour goes to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The Smithsonian gets Discovery. To make room for Discovery, Enterprise has to move to New York.

If its new building isn’t ready, Enterprise would likely be housed in a climate controlled tent at the city’s JFK Airport.

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soundoff (455 Responses)
  1. mattzweck

    by the way my dad work on mostly all the space shuttles in palmdale california
    rockwell / boeing now. before he retired and were not even going to get see it up here were it originally was built.
    los angeles is going to get it.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:01 am |
  2. free quick money

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    April 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  3. bunker9603


    Dayton Air Force Museum in Ohio has over 1,000,000 sqft of exhibits with more than 1.3 million visitors per year that enjoy FREE admission. Dayton Ohio is within 500 miles of 60% of the US population.

    Houston Space Center has 180,000/sqft of exhibits and draws in 750,000 visitors per year. A family of 4 will cost you $84.00 plus tax.

    Intrepid Museum has 13,000/sqft of exhibits and has only had 10 million visitors in 30 years, a family of 4 will cost you $88.00 plus tax.

    October 19, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Sherry64

      Thanks for those statistics. They clearly show that viewing of the shuttles would be much greater in either Houston or Dayton rather than New York. Being from Houston, I think the emotional argument for JSC trumps the # of visitors per year argument for Dayton, but that is certainly personal bias. I think we could both agree that the choice of New York instead of either makes no sense at all. I could accept without anger the shuttle going to Dayton, but I will always be incensed that New York was chosen over Houston.

      October 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
  4. bunker9603

    IMO, the Dayton Air Force Museum should get a shuttle before NY does. The Dayton AFM draws 1.3 million visitors per year (the shuttle will draw even more) compared to the Intrepid Museum that has ONLY drawn 10 million visitors since 1982. To make matters worse the new Intrepid proposal will isolate the shuttle from the rest of the museum and put it across the street. I also think the shuttle deserves better neighbors than a carwash and a bagel shop.

    Tidbit: Dayton, Ohio is 500 miles or less from 60% of the US population.

    October 19, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  5. shakemeup

    Could we get Rush Limbaugh to bend over?

    October 19, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  6. rapierpoint

    After reading all the hate-filled comments leveled at a particular state, I don't have to wonder why the country is as messed up as it is. Do you people realize how stupid and hateful you sound? Texas says it feels that they should have gotten the shuttle and the response is Texans should be exterminated???

    October 19, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Tennessee guy

      I think the point is, how can they possibly whine? They got billions of dollars for the shuttle program. Fine. They did their jobs well. Now, NASA needs to be sure the Shuttles are displayed for as many people as possible to see them. That is NOT Houston. The engines were designed and built in Burbank, CA. By Texas logic, one of the shuttles should REALLY rest there, don't you think? Neither do I. Texans need to quit whining, and start looking at designing and manufacturing alternative fuel vehicles, appliances, etc. Otherwise, when those technologies ARE developed, Texas will again be left in the dust, just like the Middle East. They have bumper stickers down there that say "drive 80, freeze a yankee" – meaning, use all the oil you want – they've got lots down there, screw everyone else. Okay, hicks, enjoy the money while you can.

      October 19, 2011 at 10:28 am |
      • rapierpoint

        hicks? Funny coming from "Tennessee guy" and what a lot of people think of the stereotypical person of that state. Yeah, I think Texas needs to drop it, but there's a big difference between someone posting "Texas, quit whining" or "Texas, just drop it already", and "Texans should be exterminated", etc like I've been reading here. That was the point of my post. As for the bumper sticker, I'm sure there are some, just as I'm sure there are bumper stickers in the Northern states that make disparaging comments about the Southern states. Is it right? No. It needs to stop on both sides.

        October 19, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  7. julie

    Not one of these places, Texas, New York, Florida, would have even heard of a shuttle if it wasn't for two people name The Wright Brothers, who made flight possible that took us from the first flight at Kittyhawk to the frontiers of space. That is why the Enterprise should go to Dayton, Ohio.

    October 19, 2011 at 9:38 am |
  8. Don Weathers


    October 19, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • JCQueipo

      This is the funniest comment I have ever seen in any blog !!!!!!!!!!!

      October 19, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • dbarak

      To quote Josh a few comments back, "Let's not forget that the Shuttle Program was CANCELLED by a Texas native son; George W Bush."

      So what does Obama have to do with cancelling the shuttle program?

      October 19, 2011 at 9:57 am |
      • Tennessee guy

        dbarak, how DARE you use facts and logic with Don. Can't you see he misspells his words with all caps? This means he's right, and everybody else is wrong! He made his point, crossed his arms, then stormed out of the room. Hmmph!!

        October 19, 2011 at 10:30 am |
      • Sherry64

        Yes, we Texans do often forget that. But others forget that George W. Bush put other plans in place to continue the manned space program within NASA, which were canceled by President Obama. What the Obama administration is doing instead does not sufficiently support the continuation of the manned space program and will soon put us behind other countries including China. All the changes have also been set up to hit Houston hardest, without all the help to recover from the job loss that Florida has received. I really hate to say it, but it reeks of politics. I disagree with his actions with regards to the manned space program and his attitude towards Texas (in many ways deserved, thanks to our governor) more than I do with anything else he has done.

        October 19, 2011 at 10:45 am |
  9. David

    Hewston whining?! What a surprise.

    October 19, 2011 at 7:56 am |
  10. Gary Davis

    So Houston is mad because NY wants to put the Shuttle across the street, perhaps 1/4 mile away... and Houston's solution is to put it 2500 miles away? Makes sense to me... NOT! Clearly, NASA decided to put the Shuttles where the most people would see them, not where their own ex-employees hang out.

    October 19, 2011 at 7:20 am |
    • Tennessee guy

      Gary, you're just not getting it, are you? Since they made billions on the Shuttle Program, they are now entitled to have the Shuttles themselves, regardless of where the actual best place would be for the retired shuttles. I'm sure the 10 visitors per day that actually went down there to see the shuttles would really enjoy the uncrowded museum!

      October 19, 2011 at 10:33 am |
      • rapierpoint

        Tennessee guy – you're just not getting it. It is a question of where the best place is for the retired shuttles. The question is whether tourism is the only criteria that should be used (personally, I don't think so, though it should be part of the criteria).
        Also, whether NYC changing their plans (from what was submitted to the selection process) constitutes a significant deviation that it should nullify that selection and open it back up.

        Also, it helps if you don't use hyperbole in an effort to trivialize. There is significant tourism to the Houston area and to JSC. Maybe not as much as to the Intrepid. It would be interesting to see a head to head comparison of the visitor numbers to the two sites. Overall, NYC gets quite a bit more tourists, but that doesn't mean all of them are going to swing by to see the Intrepid, just like all the tourists to Houston don't swing by JSC either.

        October 19, 2011 at 10:43 am |
      • Sherry64

        And you just aren't getting it either. 3 shuttles on the east coast makes no sense. They were supposed to be geographically spread out. New Yorkers would be close enough that most who wanted to see a shuttle would travel to NASM. Houstonians, who yes made money working on the shuttle but also dedicated their lives to the program, would have to travel to one of the coasts to see a shuttle. That doesn't make sense.

        This isn't about money to Houston, it's about feelings. The shuttle (and really all museums) IS all about emotion, the beauty of seeing them fly, the elegance of the design, the inspiration of the technology. Apparently those outside the space industry don't get that. Money is not everything. NASA has said many times that they are a family. It sounds like a cliche, but to a great extent it is true. We care about the shuttles in a way few outside of Houston or Florida care. If that isn't reason enough, on top of all the other reasons I have stated, then the next best place for a shuttle would be Dayton, not New York.

        October 19, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  11. Josh

    Let's not forget that the Shuttle Program was CANCELLED by a Texas native son; George W Bush.

    The victim here is the Shuttle Program, and the "perp" is a Texan.

    October 19, 2011 at 7:05 am |
  12. Rusty

    The only reason there was a Houston (JSC) was because of the political connections with that idiot Johnson. Main headquarters should have been at KSC so you damn JSC people should shut up and be happy you got a free ride for 50 years!!

    October 19, 2011 at 6:08 am |
    • Grumpster

      Yep...that's about it. Payback's a b1tch.

      October 19, 2011 at 6:11 am |
    • rapierpoint

      Rusty, there were valid reasons for Mission Control to not be at KSC. So that part of your argument is just a waste. That being said, should Mission Control have been put somewhere else? Possibly, but that is up for debate as to what place would have been more "deserving". JSC has served it's purpose over the years. Would it have served "better" had it been at another location?

      October 19, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  13. Grumpster

    NY should not get diddly squat. Houston....maybe, but who the h3ll wants to go there...and it's at risk from hurricanes and flooding. CA? No way...enough crap out there already....saw the place off and push it out to sea...please. DC....too much traffic to ever get a chance to see it anyway...I know...I live here and I still never want to go there due to traffic and lack of parking anywhere in the district. Put the thing somewhere that doesn't already have monuments, arches, or whatever....how about Lincoln, NE? Right smack in the middle of the country...hardly any traffic. Cheap hotels. No other scenery in sight. How about Des Moines, IA? Except a so-so AAA baseball team, that isn't a place I'd otherwise go unless I wanted hogs or corn. How about New Orleans? Ahh...no...never mind...they'll be underwater again soon anyway. Can't do Chicago...every politician there is too corrupt and would want a piece of the revenue from it for themselves. That leaves...FRANCE! No...just kidding...they are too snobbish and can't fend for themselves anyway...someone would steal it. Oshkosh, WI...now that's where I'd put it. They have a h3ll of an airshow each year, a long runway for VIP's to come visit, not much for traffic and only an occasional tornado or two (been through one near there myself).

    October 19, 2011 at 6:05 am |
  14. Chris

    Houston, we have a problem. With whining. Get off your McButts, put down the Super Sized fries, walk to NYC, and carry your shuttle home. Still looking for any reason to not just be known as "Fattest City On Earth"? Besides, Republicans like yourselves don't believe in science, remember? You are usually vehemently against progress of any kind....OH. I get it.....Waaaaaiiiiiitttt a minute! The shuttle is now discontinued. We are, for the most part going back to almost identical means of re-entry with the new rockets that we were using in the 60's! A step backward! Nice play Houston! Too bad NYC always wins(one of the fittest cities in America).

    October 19, 2011 at 3:47 am |
    • rapierpoint

      Well, Chris, considering according to Men's Health, NYC isn't in the top 20 fittest cities in the US and Houston isn't in the top 20 fattest cities in the US, I have to dismiss the rest of your argument until you provide some documentation that you know what you are talking about.

      October 19, 2011 at 10:00 am |
  15. Dave

    Texas don't deserve a shuttle,they killed a sitting president.

    October 19, 2011 at 3:24 am |
    • rapierpoint

      Actually, Oswald was born in Louisiana. 🙂

      October 19, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • rapierpoint

      Also, by that logic, Louisiana, Maryland, Illinois, and Michigan are all out of the running. Do you want to disqualify states by attempted assassinations of sitting presidents? I'm sure you'll knock out more states that way.

      October 19, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • rapierpoint

      Or, if you want to go by location of the killing of a sitting President, you'd have to disqualify Texas (sorry JSC), Washington DC (sorry Smithsonian), and New York (sorry Intrepid).

      October 19, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  16. S1N

    The only thing Texans deserve is extermination.

    October 18, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  17. M Lambo

    The decision by NASA to locate the remaining Space Shuttles and the test Shuttle Enterprise where they did is very very unfair. Three locations on the east coast and one on the west coast are not the best locations for everyone in the United States to view them. I guess if you in the center of the country you are out of luck. One location that would have been a better place to display on of them would have been the National Air Force Museum near Wright-Patterson Air Force by Dayton Ohio. I live in the midwest but not in Ohio and have traveled there a couple of times as it is a fantastic museum. Just go there once and you will see why I made that statement. I am nearing retirement with bad health and now only do limited traveling. Looks like visting one of the shuttle location will be impossible for me but I always can dream !!!!!

    October 18, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  18. Interplexer

    How about drop them off at my house! I think they need to fly still, I'll make sure they are put to good use!

    October 18, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
  19. Jerry

    The Smithsonian, Kennedy Space Center @ Cape Canaveral, Johnson Space Center @ Houston, Vandenberg AFB in California, and The National Museum of the Air Force @ Wright-Patterson AFB Dayton, Ohio. Nowhere else.

    October 18, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • SuffolkGuy

      Rockwell in Palmdale, CA designed & built the shuttle, integrating subsystems from all over the country, from east to west, north to south. This was the hub where the shuttle came into existence yet you do not mention it. ????

      October 18, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
      • Chris

        That's because Palmdale is a crap town, and everyone's just hoping it will go the way of, well, say, Mesquite, Nevada.

        October 19, 2011 at 3:55 am |
  20. uranus

    thats where

    October 18, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  21. My mother's son

    Like mom would always do...cut it down the middle and give one half to each.

    October 18, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  22. BankerGolfer

    To Texas and all Texans: Get over it. Despite all the great things your state did for the space program, the simple fact remains that more tourists (Americans and foreigners) visit New York City each year than the entire state of Texas. If you state offered more than Tex-Mex and steak & potatoes, then maybe I could see your point. Cheer up – at least you still have Romo and the Cowboys to be proud off!

    October 18, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • SuffolkGuy

      New York is the only US city in the Top Ten of World Tourism. Tourist volume is what this is all about and NASA is very much into self promotiuon.

      October 18, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
      • rapierpoint

        Then, by that logic, why not put everything in NYC?

        October 19, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  23. Nemo

    What is wrong with you? Do not attack a state and assume everyone is the same.

    October 18, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  24. flashtrum

    Where to put the Space Shuttle? Back in space until a replacement could be brought into production. Now, with Russia's rockets grounding their manned space flight plans, the entire ISS program is in serious jeopardy. Privatization is one thing, but they could have easily waited another 16-24 months to ground the program in order to give more time for the private sector to ready their respective space crafts.

    October 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • David O

      A good portion of the NASA technicians formerly employed by NASA to turn the shuttle around and relaunch have found work elsewhere. NASA no longer has the skills to launch another shuttle.

      October 19, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  25. M

    What about Dayton, Ohio, the birthplace of aviation? Home of Orville and Wilbur Wright and the National Air Force Museum.

    October 18, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Kevin H

      Don't shoot the messenger – but the Wright Brothers selected the Henry Ford Museum and the Henry Ford Village as the home for most of their life's work. Ford had become a friend of the Wright Brothers and promised them he would build a suitable location for them. So unfortunately Dayton didn't even get much of a nod from its own – that doesn't say a whole lot for the home of the "Dayton Accords". I like Dayton by the way – very nice place – used to go there for swap meets out at the airfield by Goodyear. Loved the blimp.

      October 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • JCQueipo

      I can NOT think of a better place !! I was there many years ago at the museum, its great !!!

      October 19, 2011 at 9:13 am |
  26. Zach

    Just an interesting thought,
    Yes, in a lot of respects, Huston has many close ties to the Space Shuttle program, and has a reasonable claim to the space shuttle, to say the least. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they should automatically get it.
    Look at it this way, a significant number historical artifacts are not housed near their place of origin. Whether it be art, documents, or Space Shuttles, it is not guaranteed that an artifact is located near the area where it was historically significant. For example, there is a ship from Pearl Harbor currently docked in the Baltimore Harbor, and has been for a long time, even though it has no connection to Maryland. Or what about the Wright flyer? its located in Washington DC, not Kitty Hawk.
    Personally, I think there is one main reason for this, it allows for people not located near this area to experience whatever that artifact is related to. For example, if we followed the theory behind Houston's complaint, I wouldn't be able to see the Da Vinci painting currently housed in the National Gallery, due to the fact that he is Italian.
    Honestly, I really don't know who really deserves the shuttle, I just think that there is no real right answer.

    Also, I think that everyone needs to chill out with the whole "who has a better state" argument, it's honestly quite petty.

    October 18, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Brent

      Houston is spelled Houston. Houston should get first pick of the shuttles.

      October 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
      • Jay

        Dear Houston,

        When you become a city that people actually care about or visit, then you can get a space shuttle. Until then, you have no right to whine. Why bother putting a space shuttle in a city where nobody will ever see it?

        October 18, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
      • Charles Boyer

        Kennedy Space Center - where the orbiters actually flew from, were housed at and were serviced and prepared for flight, should have first pick. Then, it should be Houston and finally, the Smithsonian. All three places deserve orbiters. Enterprise should go to California, for geographic convenience.

        None should go to New York for political favors, and the long and short of it is that the Obama administration was under a full court press from the New York congressional delegation for one of the shuttles. As it is wont to do, the administration caved. Apparently, the only people it feels capable of standing up to and telling no to are the citizens of the country.

        October 18, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
      • Will S

        Texas already got a space center it didn't deserve from LBJ and now it wants a shuttle? If Texas cared about the shuttle they would have voted for a President that supported the space program in 2000 and 2004.

        October 18, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
      • JCQueipo

        Houston will eventually get a shuttle, that's part of the deal !!!

        October 19, 2011 at 9:10 am |
    • Kevin H

      Mission Control had two locations: Cape Canaveral / Cape Kennedy, Florida and Houston. The rocket engines were built in Tennessee other parts came from similar places. The Wright Brothers models were largely destroyed in testing and retesting so there are few of them – but many museums have made copies – because frankly they're cheap to build. The Space Shuttles were very expensive to build and very expensive to maintain. The receiving museums should have been able to prove that not only could they handle housing and maintaining the objects themselves but that they could insure a space that would safely accommodate visitors who would view the objects. You can't step inside a Wright Brothers model because doing so would destroy the object itself – you could build replicas and people could interact with those if a museum wished to do so. These large pieces of equipment should be experienced by people – they should be able to step into the vehicles themselves or facsimiles of their insides should be available for interaction. The Pacific War Museum in beautiful Fredericksburg, Texas does this admirably. The question asked should have been: can you do these large pieces of living history justice. That question I suspect was not asked. Houston is a city which traditionally has brought great wealth to bear on problems such as housing a space shuttle – not that other cities cannot do so, however, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio frankly have the constituent wealth to provide permanent homes for objects of this stature. They do not have so many balls in the air they cannot catch them. The same cannot be said of NYC which has many fine museums, however, it has MANY fine museums. All of these needs constant attention with collections that need to be increased to even stay on the map. The competition is fierce. The same is true with Los Angeles. One shuttle should have stayed in Houston for many reasons not the least of which is that they could have taken care of it and given it an excellent home.

      October 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
      • John T

        For accuracy, the Kennedy Space Center has LAUNCH Control, Once the shuttle cleared the tower until wheel stop the mission was controlled by Mission Control in Houston.

        October 19, 2011 at 8:04 am |
      • bunker9603

        IMO, Dayton Air Force Museum should get a shutle before NY does. The Dayton AFM draws 1.3 million visitors per year compared to the Intrepid Museum that has ONLY drawn 10 million visitors since 1982.

        Dayton is a much better choice, not to mention that the shuttle will increase the number of visitors per year

        October 19, 2011 at 10:04 am |
      • Sherry64

        While I still think Houston is a better location than Dayton, you can make a strong case for Dayton receiving 1 of the shuttles. It certainly deserves it more than New York, and I could probably be convinced that it is as good of a location as Houston. New York just does not make any sense at all.

        October 19, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • Wesley

      Easy solution. Move Johnson Space Center to a state that actually deserves a NASA facility, like California, then there will be no question where to locate the retired shuttles. No doubt then Senator Johnson stacked the deck to get the facility located in Texas. After all, Texas wasn't exactly a center for science and technology at that time.

      Given Texas' vocal resistance to just about any science that doesn't conveniently fit their political/religious agenda, does Texas really deserve any special consideration here? They made their bed, time to climb in.

      October 19, 2011 at 1:55 am |
      • rapierpoint

        I would advise you to quit painting all Texans with the same brush. Most Texans care quite a bit about science (whether or not it aligns with their religious or political views). If you did a modicum of research, you would find that there's quite a bit of scientific, medical, etc research going on in Texas. Don't make the stupid mistake of thinking that, just because some misguided legislators do something that all of Texas (or even a majority of Texas) is in lock-step with them. (And the same argument goes for people that bash any other state simply because their elected officials do something stupid).

        October 19, 2011 at 9:36 am |
      • Tennessee guy

        Just because you BUILD a Rolls-Royce, doesn't mean that you get to OWN a Rolls-Royce. Who the heck is going to go to Houston, and actually SEE the Shuttle, if it's put there? They'd get about 10 visitors per day. The engines were designed and built in Burbank, CA. So, since they powered the shuttles, do THEY then get the retired shuttles? I didn't think so. Texas is just like the middle east. When oil is no longer needed, it'll be dustbowl city down there!!

        October 19, 2011 at 10:22 am |
      • Sherry64

        Thank you very much Rapier. I am not a native Texan, but I have spent the last 25 years working on the Space Shuttle in Houston. I have met very few people who fit the descriptions of Texans I am seeing on this blog. Houston is a large, diverse city, and a wonderful place to live. Medical research is particularly strong here, as is the Chemical industry. The people I know are not arrogant cowboys but highly intelligent, well educated people who care about others. Most chose to work on the Space Shuttle because the work was meaningful to them, even though they could have made 50% more in the private sector (That is not an exaggeration – I know many who have left the space program for just such raises without leaving Houston for more expensive locations).
        This comes from someone who is fairly liberal, with views that would generally fit in better in New York than in Texas. I have no idea what Houston was like when the Space Center was placed in Houston, but I’m convinced that politics did play a large role in the location selected. That does not make it a bad location for it. In fact, I hardly know a person who would move to California to work on the space program. I like the state, but they simply won’t pay enough to support a decent standard of living there (you would have to double my salary, at least, for me to be able to afford living in California, and I still would not have a house nearly as nice as I have here). I as a taxpayer do not want to pay to build a new facility in California, then pay the increased salaries, just so that “more deserving” California can be the center of manned space flight. There are a lot more important places to use our money.
        The issue here is not whether Houston deserved JSC many years ago, but whether it makes more sense to place a shuttle in New York or in Houston. The answer to me is clear, based on the criteria set down by those making the decision. It should go to Houston. Choosing New York puts 3 shuttles on the east coast; choosing Houston would place 1 of those in central U.S. Choosing New York gives New Yorkers 2 convenient locations to view a shuttle; choosing Houston gives Americans in the central portion of the country a chance to see 1 of them conveniently. Choosing New York gives a shuttle to a city with minor ties to NASA and the space shuttle program; choosing Houston gives a shuttle to a city with EXTREMELY strong ties to NASA and the space shuttle program. On all points, Houston wins. It is such an obvious choice, based on logic and the criteria chosen for placement, that any other is inconceivable to me.

        October 19, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Ado

      printf("2 Zach is right.." \n);
      printf("Historical significance is ideal for an attraction's location.The top[2] choices I have in mind are: \n
      Houston, DC, Atlanta, and Florida (Miami or Ft. Lauderdale). Both Houston and Florida play ideal roles in space \n
      exploration's history. And the fact I love Atlanta, and believe it could stimulate educational benefits that are \n
      MUCH needed, I should DEFinately be a key location."\n);
      printf("3... 4");


      October 19, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • dbarak

      Angelica or John?

      October 19, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • David O

      If NASA really wants as many eyeballs to see the shuttles as possible, then why put three on the Eastern seaboard (two within close proximity) and another in California? What about middle America? A very large portion of the country has a two day drive just to get to one of the host cities. Take the one from New York and put it in St. Louis, Kansas City or even Des Moines or some other central US city. I'd even settle for Chicago. New Yorkers can drive down to Washington, see the shuttle and be back home in time for CSI.

      October 19, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  27. David in Ohio

    Having worked at the Johnson Space Center, I believe Houston would have been a better site for an Orbiter than New York. New York is way too close to DC and none of the Orbiters will be housed between the Appalachians and the Rockies. NASA said they wanted geographical diversity in the placement of the Shuttles. But a better site for the Orbiter would have been Dayton, as Dayton and Columbus both rank at the top in the number of Americans that live within 500 miles.

    October 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • julie

      Absolutely! The space shuttle would be visited by nearly 1 million visitors a year at the Museum of the Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

      October 19, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  28. sharon

    Put it in Nebraska they need it more than anyone....

    October 18, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  29. jman

    Texas will be gone soon so they didnt want to waste a shuttle by putting it there.

    October 18, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Rob

      Not soon enough!

      October 18, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  30. Tom


    October 18, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
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