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NASA hands out second-hand shuttles

Orbiters' final homes announced

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NASA administrator Charles Bolden yesterday announced just where the four remaining space shuttles will find a final home, as the agency celebrated the 30th anniversary of the first orbiter launch on 12 April, 1981*.

The details are:

  • Atlantis – Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
  • Discovery – The Udvar-Hazy Center at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum (Chantilly, Virginia).
  • Endeavour – The California Science Center (Los Angeles).
  • Enterprise (currently on display at the National Air and Space Museum) – Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum (New York).

Bolden said: "We want to thank all of the locations that expressed an interest in one of these national treasures. 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 US and international visitors."

Enterprise on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Pic: Smithsonian National Air and Space MuseumEnterprise (pictured) was the first shuttle built, used for atmospheric flight and ground testing. Discovery retired on 9 March this year, at the end of its 39th mission. Endeavour's swansong mission is slated to blast off on 29 April, and NASA has a planned final trip for Atlantis to the ISS pencilled in for 28 June.

NASA is also handing out hundreds of shuttle bits and pieces. Visitors to the the Museum of Flight in Seattle will enjoy a full fuselage trainer, while a nose cap assembly and crew compartment trainer will make its way to National Museum of the US Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

Furthermore, schools and universities who "want to share technology and a piece of space history with their students" by getting their hands on a shuttle heat tile are invited to make their pitch here.

NASA has more on the hand-out here. ®

Bootnote

* Columbia, carrying commander John Young and pilot Robert Crippen.

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