Space Shuttle Retirement Homes Selected
As the 30-year-old space shuttle fleet neared final flights, aviation museums around the country lobbied to get one for their collection, and this week NASA announced final homes for four of the shuttles. The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia will become the new home for shuttle Discovery, which retired after completing its 39th mission in March. Enterprise, the first orbiter built, which is now on display there, will move to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York. Endeavour, which will fly for the last time later this month, will go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Atlantis, which will fly the last planned shuttle mission, in June, will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex in Florida.
"We want to thank all of the locations that expressed an interest in one of these national treasures," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "This was a very difficult decision, but one that was made with the American public in mind. In the end, these choices provide the greatest number of people with the best opportunity to share in the history and accomplishments of NASA's remarkable space shuttle program. These facilities we've chosen have a noteworthy legacy of preserving space artifacts and providing outstanding access to U.S. and international visitors." NASA also announced that it will allocate hundreds of shuttle artifacts to museums and educational institutions around the country, including simulators and trainers, as well as parts such as pilot seats and engines. NASA is also giving away heat-shield tiles as souvenirs to schools and universities that want to share a piece of space history with their students; click here for information on how to request a tile.