By now everyone must have heard the big news of the day. (OK, the big news in my world.) Chicago will not be getting one of the retired Space Shuttles.
Discovery will go to the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia, which is certainly reasonable. They already have the Enterprise (named after the Starship Enterprise after a successful campaign by fans of the Star Trek series) which never went into space, but was used in landing and flight tests. Enterprise will now go to the Intrepid Museum in New York City.
Atlantis will go to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Endeavour is headed for the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
As I say, the NASM certainly must have one, but why put three shuttles on the east coast? The retired shuttles should be somewhat geographically distributed. While the proposal by Chicago’s Adler Planetarium was weak (focusing on the architecture of the new building rather than the display of the shuttle) the New York proposal wasn’t any better. Besides, if you are in New York and want to see a shuttle, a day trip to Virginia isn’t that difficult.
As for Florida, I must say I never saw that choice coming despite many who declared it to be obvious. The KSC is where you can go to watch the actual current space systems being launched. They don’t need to display the past systems as well. Houston would have been a more logical choice if NASA wanted to keep one shuttle for display at a NASA facility.
So, if you are stuck out anywhere in the middle of the country, you have to take a few days off and travel a significant distance if you want to see a real shuttle up close and in person.
OK, enough ranting about a topic of interest only to me and six other people in the world. Sorry…