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Lacking Buyers, NASA Cuts Prices On Shuttles and Old Engines

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the try-craigslist dept.

NASA 131

Hugh Pickens writes "Russia's Space Shuttle, Buran, ended its days at a theme park in Moscow and was once offered for sale on the Internet for 3 million dollars. Now the NY Times reports that when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration put out the call in December 2008 seeking buyers for US shuttles from museums, schools and elsewhere, the agency didn't get as much interest as expected, so now NASA has slashed the price of the 1970s-era spaceships, available for sale this fall once their flying days are over, from $42 million to just $28.8 million apiece. 'We're confident that we'll get other takers,' says agency spokesman Mike Curie. The Discovery is already promised to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum but the Atlantis and the Endeavour are still up for grabs and it is possible that the Enterprise, a shuttle prototype that never made it to space, will also be available. The lower price is based on NASA's estimate of the cost for transporting a shuttle from Kennedy Space Center to a major airport, and for displaying it indoors in a climate-controlled building. As for the space shuttle main engines, those are now free. NASA advertised them in December 2008 for $400,000 to $800,000 each, but no one expressed interest. So now the engines are available, along with other shuttle artifacts, for the cost of transportation and handling."

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first bid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30799918)

I bid $1 for the Enterprise!

Re:first bid! (2, Funny)

wraithguard01 (1159479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800298)

But look at the shipping and handling costs. That's what gets ya everytime. $1 space shuttle engine, $28.8 million shipping and handling. It's a rip off.

Re:first bid! (1)

peterxyz (315132) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800366)

yeah, that's why I always sort by "price + P&P" on eBay
weeds out those sleezeballs who lowball the price, but inflate the shipping

Re:first bid! (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801606)

Shit. I hate this moderation system. Posting to undo.

low-cost housing for the homeless! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30799928)

set a couple up on the Mall in DC, where i'm sure they'll be put to great use!

Re:low-cost housing for the homeless! (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802326)

Well, the Enterprise is virtually on the Mall in DC - at least the last time I was there... right inside the Smithsonian. I think you can even see it from the Mall through the windows at the Smithsonian.

So, it probably wouldn't take that much to move it outside to convert to housing.

;-)

Re:low-cost housing for the homeless! (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802350)

Ooops... it was moved to Dulles.

Perfect geek storm! (5, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#30799930)

One free shuttle engine.
One old impala.
Mythbusters
Best Show EVER!

Re:Perfect geek storm! (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800000)

Similar to what I was thinking...

Concrete truck full of explosives
Shuttle engine
Abandoned mine/quarry
Mythbusters
Epic!

Re:Perfect geek storm! (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800158)

They called to say "permission denied"... twice!

MythBusters (3, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800632)

NARRATOR: Unfortunately, while it may be easy to purchase a used surplus NASA space engine, some of the logistics aren't turning out to be easy to handle!

Adam Savage: [Jamie's stupid toy space suit in background] When we bought this thing, we figured, great! Now we don't need to build our own engine. Unfortunately, it seems that the engines are actually too big to transport on any truck we've been able to find. So that's going to be a problem, but we'll handle it.

[Cut to scene of Jamie Hyneman wearing a welder's face helmet and blasting through sheet metal emblazoned "NASA" in those funny letters]

NARRATOR: So while the rest of the guys are getting the lot ready for the explosion, Jamie is busy disassembling the engine into parts!

Jamie Hyneman: [Lifts up welder's mask] This is turning out to be a lot of work, but if we're going to test this myth, we've got to get our water recycling machine up into space, bwwwwssssh [makes vertical "blast-off" gestures] and we'll be drinking our own pee and sweat in no time!

Re:MythBusters (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30800692)

You have the names the wrong way around. Jamie is the serious guy, Adam is the spazz.

Re:MythBusters (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800774)

I guess I gave myself away as not a serious fan.

Re:Perfect geek storm! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30801546)

And so America slips into third world status.

I'm sure your children will be so proud that mummy and daddy would rather have died than even DISCUSS what was actually happening all around them - you know, the massive influx of third worlders, which was FORCED onto you, against your will.

So what are the chances of the 'new' America putting a man on the moon again, when the country is 99.9% non-white? Slim to none?

Anybody care to discuss? Or will you 'scientists' prefer to deny reality and resort to name calling? Truly pathetic.

Rocketeer! (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802798)

A SSME for free, add some small tankage and off you go. A parachute might be nice too.
Iron Man, you suck!

First!!!!!!!1one11! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30799934)

First bid!

Hollywood? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30799938)

What Hollywood doesn't want one or two - at least the rental shops for movie makers?

Good god! I can think of a shit load of porn movies to make with them!

"Debbie does the ISS."

Moonfucker.

it goes on...

Re:Hollywood? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800022)

I suspect you can build a set that looks like the inside of the shuttle for a lot less than the shuttle itself. And the exterior shots I figure you can do with archive footage for flying and bluescreen for boarding/leaving. Hell, it might even be cheaper with CGI, and it sounds like your movies will have plenty of it unless you want to take it into space again.

Re:Hollywood? (5, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800292)

There's a company up the 101 in the valley that owns the complete mockup that was built for SpaceCamp. That single model has been enough for every LA film, TV show or other for the past 20 years or so; there really isn't a high demand for shuttle flight deck interior scenes. The set is actually a lot MORE intereting than the actual fligt deck, IMHO, since they never updated it with EFIS and it still has all of the original analogue gauges and gear (all completely accurate I might add). Even if you did want to buy a space shuttle to use in a film, you'd probably have to destroy the thing just to make it useable for shooting: running power and HVAC, tearing out walls, etc)

Re:Hollywood? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801158)

The shuttle's front windows are removable for servicing. You'd probably just trunk power in through that. For scenes up front, you'd trunk it in through the airlock. And it has its own air system that ducts (among other places) into the cargo bay to support the extended duration orbiter pallet, so I think it should be possible to duct HVAC in through that. So although it might be easier if you cut the top open like a can opener, it's not strictly necessary. That said, if a movie studio bought one, I'd immediately invest in Canon and other lens manufacturers in the expectation of a bunch of custom orders for large format fisheye lenses with insane levels of distortion correction.

Re:Hollywood? (2, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801950)

I'd immediately invest in Canon and other lens manufacturers in the expectation of a bunch of custom orders for large format fisheye lenses with insane levels of distortion correction.

Actually you could get a little something done if, instead of using a Panavision or Arri body, you used a Canon 7D or 5DmkII (or RED Scarlett, whenever those become available), since its body and lenses are small enough to move around. But you need to have a minimum of like 10 people on the set at any one time, to act, direct, operate camera, pull focus, makeup, production design, grip, and light, and then you actually have to have proper lights for the scenes; it's complicated. You could only make it work if you were doing something verite or Dogma-95 style, and those movies generally don't make enough money to cover the $20 million you spent buying the thing :)

Re:Hollywood? (1)

spitzak (4019) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802782)

By far the most important problem is that for such a confined space you need to get the camera much further back than the opposite wall to get a good view of the room. Otherwise you either get closeups of people's heads and some instruments, or you have to use something that looks like a fish eye lens. If it is approximately square you will need at least the back and one side wall to be removable.

I think this pretty much means that a normal set will be much more efficient. Also you can modify a normal set to whatever the script needs are (add more or fewer seats, put in magical non-existent device and control panel, etc).

Note to some other posters: digital cameras like the Red do not have magical properties that make this unnecessary!

Put it on eBay! (5, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30799940)

'nuff said.

Re:Put it on eBay! (1)

GlassHeart (579618) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800864)

Gosh, no. Shuttles in museums will inspire kids and adults alike, which will mean far more to NASA (both in terms of voter support for budgets, as well as talent recruitment) than $10 or $20 million more that some private collector might offer.

Maybe they should put up an ad on craigslist. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30799944)

Keep an eye on http://spacecoast.craigslist.org/zip/ [craigslist.org]

It's a trap (-1, Troll)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#30799958)

We're confident that we'll get other takers

To try to arrest the terrorist to trying to terrorize space.

I suspect they sabotaged the things and make a buck out of it, while stopping terrorism. Brilliance!

Re:It's a trap (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800378)

One of the Iain M Banks novels (Use of Weapons) had a subplot a bit like that. The aim was to fly something like the shuttle into orbit and then bring it down without proper breaking on the target. The impact would have been similar to a nuclear explosion in terms of magnitude (although without the fallout). It's not really feasible for terrorists though. If you've got access to enough fuel to put a shuttle in orbit, then pop it in a ship off manhattan and ignite it and you'll do a lot more damage.

Re:It's a trap (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800636)

Or better yet, use your access to space to sell rides to satellites and make lots of money. Funny how all the really crazy terrorist-supporting countries are dirt poor out there. Somehow I suspect that if they worked out this capitalism thing, they'd be a lot less violent when profit's to be made.

Re:It's a trap (1)

Loomismeister (1589505) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800934)

It wouldn't have come close to the magnitude of a nuclear bomb

Re:It's a trap (1)

frieko (855745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801254)

[citation needed.] The shuttle starts off with about 10^13 joules (2.4 kilotons) of chemical energy, so neglecting inefficiency/friction it would be roughly the magnitude of a snuke [wikipedia.org] .

Re:It's a trap (3, Informative)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801738)

Heinlein did it first, and better, in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. He threw multi-ton canisters of rock at earth.

There would be international buyers I am sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30799970)

You could probably sell one Shuttle to the Chinese or the Indians. The SSME engine is leading edge technology even today. But that would not go down well, would it?

Re:There would be international buyers I am sure (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800942)

Easier for them to just buy one of the successors of Russian RD-170 (the most powerful liquid-fueled rocket engine that ever existed); which, while most likely much simpler, have remarkable efficiency.

Plenty of places use those too, so there shouldn't be much a problem with finding one...

As a matter of fact, even US actively uses them: "Another variant, the RD-180 used on the Atlas V, replaced the three engines used on early Atlas rockets with a single engine and achieved significant payload and performance gains." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RD-170_(rocket_engine) [wikipedia.org] )

Re:There would be international buyers I am sure (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801928)

Nah. The RD-170, excellent as it is, is in a different category. It is a LOX/Kerosene engine for booster applications. SSME was made to work across the entire flight envelope. It supports deeper throttling and has higher ISP because of using LOX/LH2. The equivalent Russian engine would be the RD-0120 [wikipedia.org] .

Re:There would be international buyers I am sure (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802108)

You see this situation all the time with miliary/government surplus.

For a hundred bucks or even less, you can pick up all kinds of neat surplus gizmos that Uncle Sam paid thousands and thousands of dollars for. The reason is that the gizmo is sure to perform some highly demanding task that nobody has any use for except in the exact original application. That's why you don't see cheap surplus trucks or aircraft -- lots of people have a use for that kind of stuff. The "bargain" stuff is more likely to be an assembly used to collimate the target sights for a huge and obsolete field artillery piece, or an oddball large format camera (sans lens) designed fit in the nose of a 1960s era fighter plane.

If you buy this kind of stuff, you are almost certainly doing it for one of two reasons. Either it's as a conversation piece, or you're taking it apart for things like lenses, mirrors and such. You don't need any of the things that made the gizmo expensive. Neither does anyone else.

That's the situation for the SSME. IIRC, it's an outstanding engine, but it's most important characteristic is that it is reusable. It has a remarkable track record of success at that, but you'd have to be building a reusable launch vehicle to want that. In other words the only people who'd have a use for this thing would be people building their own shuttle.

Maybe if you wanted to build *one* disposable rocket, you might find this thing a bargain. But who in their mind would want to do that? You achieve economy on a disposable rocket by building lots of nearly identical copies. For that you don't give a damn about getting the first engine cheap. You want an engine that is cheap to build over and over again, which of course the SSME wasn't designed to be. Even *we* have no use for these things, even though we intend to build a shuttle replacement.

More than one Buran out there... (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30799988)

The summary seems to imply otherwise. And not only almost finished or barely finished orbiters, also models for static tests, etc. Those also ended up as tourist attractions or in museums (or rusting in scrapyard)

In fact, the Buran, the one that made orbital flight, was probably destroyed by a hangar collapse in 2002... (along with the remaining Energia mock-up on which it was laid to rest...)
http://www.buran.ru/images/jpg/bbur90.jpg [buran.ru]
http://www.buran.ru/images/jpg/bbur89.jpg [buran.ru]

BTW, Should we really count Enterprise as a prototype? It couldn't made it into space...Columbia seems more appropriate. Or, if insisting on rules lax enough to include Enterprise, Endeavor seems a better choice as the "first", actually. Since it's a rebuild structural "airframe" that was used for static tests (so likely before Enterprise), to replenish the fleet with fully capable orbiter after Challenger disaster.

PS. Free Shuttle parts for the cost of transport?! Please, will somebody in the know confirm you don't have to be some large educational institution or venerable museum? ;)

Re:More than one Buran out there... (2, Funny)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800080)

Free Shuttle parts for the cost of transport?! Please, will somebody in the know confirm you don't have to be some large educational institution or venerable museum? ;)

Or Bond villain.

Re:More than one Buran out there... (4, Funny)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800198)

PS. Free Shuttle parts for the cost of transport?! Please, will somebody in the know confirm you don't have to be some large educational institution or venerable museum? ;)

Confirmed. And if you have Amazon Prime, it's free 2-day shipping.

Re:More than one Buran out there... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30800338)

Endeavor seems a better choice as the "first", actually. Since it's a rebuild structural "airframe" that was used for static tests (so likely before Enterprise), to replenish the fleet with fully capable orbiter after Challenger disaster.

That is incorrect, you have conflated the histories of two different orbiters. Challenger was built out of a Static Test Article (STA-099). Endeavour (with a 'u') was built to replace Challenger and was made out of structural spares left over from the construction of Discovery and Atlantis. You are also forgetting the Space Shuttle Pathfinder, the first prototype.

For more information see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbiter_Vehicle_Designation

Re:More than one Buran out there... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30800548)

A worthy place for Enterprise might be next to the Buran at the http://speyer.technik-museum.de/exhibits/spaceshuttle-buran/sp_610.html [technik-museum.de] (Germany). At Sinsheim http://sinsheim.technik-museum.de/node/27 [technik-museum.de] , they already have a Russian Tupolev TU-144 and an Air France CONCORDE on display.

Buran flight test article at Technikmuseum Speyer (2, Interesting)

mene (1660015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800704)

The perfect place for Enterprise might be next to the Buran at http://speyer.technik-museum.de/exhibits/spaceshuttle-buran/sp_610.html [technik-museum.de] . At http://sinsheim.technik-museum.de/node/27 [technik-museum.de] , they have both a Russian Tupolev TU-144 and an Air France CONCORDE on display.

Re:Buran flight test article at Technikmuseum Spey (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30801172)

What? Air france had a Concorde that they didn't crash?? amazing..

Love
Anonymous Coward.

Re:More than one Buran out there... (3, Interesting)

Teancum (67324) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800874)

In regards to the Enterprise, it was intended to make it into space. The original plan by NASA was to retro-fit the Enterprise to fly into space once the initial landing and approach tests were completed. An older vehicle that was used as a test article was eventually converted into the Challenger, and the Endeavor had a somewhat similar history. Both when the Challenger blew up and the Columbia burned up, the thought of finishing the job to make the Enterprise fully spaceflight worthy had been brought up, but rejected due to the costs involved in such a conversion. That is certainly much closer to going into space than most other vehicles that I can think of.

Clearly the Enterprise did fly on its own as an independent vehicle on at least three different occasions, and did contribute significantly to the development of the Space Shuttle program that we know today. For me, it clearly belongs in any list of shuttles that you could mention, and does count as a prototype by every definition of the word.

Now if you want to quibble over the Pathfinder, that is one you can certainly debate. That is the vehicle which was used to be a full mock-up of the Shuttle that could be used to train technicians assembling the parts of the Shuttle and to check ground clearances for moving the Shuttle around if they just wanted to see if it could fit or not. It certainly seems better to screw up on a cheap hunk of steel that won't ever go into space than to make a mistake on a vehicle that cost over a billion dollars to build in the first place. That hunk of steel was never intended to go into space at any time, and barely looks like a Shuttle.

Re:More than one Buran out there... (4, Informative)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801640)

The vehicle designators reveal the original plans for the orbiters and test articles. They are:

MPTA-098 non-flight worthy mockup Pathfinder (Its current appearance is largely decoration added after the fact)
STA-099 became OV-099 Challenger
OV-101 Enterprise (The first of the orbital vehicle series. Originally intended to undergo the conversion STA-099 went through)
OV-102 Columbia
OV-103 Discovery
OV-104 Atlantis
OV-105 Endeavour

It was determined that it would be cheaper to make Challenger out of STA-099 rather than perform the necessary upgrades to bring Enterprise up to space flight worthiness. Only cost concerns prevented it from becoming an operational shuttle.

Re:More than one Buran out there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30801148)

It counts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkEUBBlIjUA

Re:More than one Buran out there... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801898)

A failed prototype is still a prototype.

Sell it to Bill Gates (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30800040)

And put himself and Balmer in it... Wait lets throw in a few PETA people also.. oh and Leo Laporte -- just because...point it at the moon and just go away.. Oh dam was I dreaming again?

Re:Sell it to Bill Gates (1)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800660)

You can't have been lucid - you forgot Uwe Boll.

Re:Sell it to Bill Gates (1)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801336)

He could not have been serious either. He forgot Stallman.

Mouse On The Moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30800050)

A small European country accepts NASA's offer then requests US funding for "it's" space program hoping to use the funding to provide indoor plumbing for the royal castle.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057328/

Milage? MPG? (1)

marciot (598356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800082)

What's the millage on those things? And how many MPG does it get?

Re:Milage? MPG? (1)

KibibyteBrain (1455987) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800284)

I'm guessing millimeters per gallon is a more fitting unit in this case.

Dragstah! (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800370)

Not really. The shuttle is like the ultimate dragster; it uses literal tons of fuel to get up to speed, but once it's there, it just coasts for thousands of miles.

I mean really, how many other reusable vehicles out there can accelerate from zero to almost 18,000MPH in 8 minutes flat? Where else are you going to get the Mach 25 experience?

Re:Dragstah! (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802730)

So what would a SSME strapped to a light chassis do on a quarter mile?

Re:Milage? MPG? (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801302)

Better than you may expect.

Just add up how much distance it is crossing while orbiting the earth...

scrap steel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30800110)

I wonder how many tons the space shuttle and/or the engines are? Can one make money by
selling them as scrap steel?

Re:scrap steel (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800302)

If one got them for the cost of transport with no strings attached, it would be easy to cut them up for scrap onsite and make a nice profit.
Google how aircraft are scrapped at AMARC for examples.

Keep them for reference (4, Insightful)

2phar (137027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800112)

We dont want this [pbs.org] happening again..

Re:Keep them for reference (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800228)

That's a good point. I don't see why they just don't truck it over to Norton Sales [nortonsalesinc.com] and just put the stuff where everything else is. There has to be an advantage to having a single 'space junkyard' rather than having crap strewn across the planet.

Re:Keep them for reference (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800630)

here i am thinking, How could I scrap one of these shuttles, I get free delivery and the scrap metal value must be in the millions, but if I part it out, I bet I could get 50 million in sales. do some creative marketing and I could sell off the entire ship in little cubes to everyone in the USA for 9.95 plus shipping.

then I see the video above, what really has to happen is that everything should be digitized in 3d so that the parts could be replicated and stored for everyone to have access too in the future. if there are any manuals get them into the database also.

Too late! (0, Troll)

Suzuran (163234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800788)

Too late, the flight software source code and main engine plans have already been destroyed by the US government to prevent any later administration from restarting the program.

Re:Too late! (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800892)

"Too late, the flight software source code and main engine plans have already been destroyed by the US government to prevent any later administration from restarting the program."

Citation needed.

Re:Too late! (1)

2phar (137027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30802134)

Umm.. you mean like this [ibiblio.org] ?

Re:Keep them for reference (3, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800924)

How could I scrap one of these shuttles

I don't know about this specific deal, but I do know about several artifact deals like this, and generally you never own it. You just have a semi-perpetual lease. The lease voids and you must return the artifact unless certain conditions are met, like the artifact must be generally accessible to the public, must be indoors in a climate controlled environment, must be maintained by professional conservators (not the janitor or handyman), must submit an annual report meeting the satisfaction of some military historical/conservation office, etc. Often there are restrictions on control by for-profit companies, and restrictions on commercial advertising, especially if the focus of the advertising is the artifact or there is any insinuation of government approval of the advertiser. And then there are the insurance requirements.

You're not going to be allowed to part the thing out on ebay for fundraising, without really weird special permission. Maybe, if one of the tires goes flat, you could get permission from congress to chop it up, attach sq cm pieces to wood plaques, and sell the plaques, maybe, and it would help if you gave relevant congressmen some free samples.

I've seen strange word drift with other "ownership" words, the word "owning" means nothing anymore. The majority of the people whom claim they "own" a house are actually renting from the bank via a mortgage. For a good laugh, if you think you "own" your land, try not paying rent (aka property tax) to your local govt for a couple years, and see who really owns "your" land. Then there are the people that say "I built my home" merely meaning they purchased it from the builder as opposed to purchasing from a real estate agent. In some parts of the country, "an apartment" is a rental and in other parts "an apartment" is what most people call a condo, "buying an apartment" is an oxymoron because by definition an apartment is a place you rent. Some places call a condo a "home", in other areas only a free standing single family shack is called a "home".

Same deal with the shuttles. You're not "buying a shuttle" you're getting a "free" lease with a thousand special conditions, and only paying for delivery. The govt will repossess, at your expense, if you try to do something unapproved with the artifact, or something they'll repossess just because they feel like it.

Re:Keep them for reference (3, Insightful)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800884)

This is crazy. It is as if a software engineer instead of implementing a new algorithm would wrap old LAPACK functions written in Fortran, oh wait ...

China will likely buy it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30800136)

Though not sure why, they just steal what they need.

Eternal glory awaits the astronaut farmer (3, Interesting)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800160)

Eternal fame and fortune await the first of us to privately assemble, launch, orbit the earth at least once, and return safely.

Batteries probably not included (1)

olau (314197) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800696)

I highly suspect they will NOT sell it with the giant rocket required for take off. Of course, if you're shelling out for the vehicle, rocket and launch platform gear is nothing, eh?

Re:Batteries probably not included (1)

hanabal (717731) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800900)

It only costs NASA around half a billion per launch. Of course they already have the infrastructure in place but that can't be too expensive.

Re:Batteries probably not included (1)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801100)

Well obviously you'll want to retrofit a modern antigravity warp gradient generator into the thing as the actual propulsion core, and hack up some custom nanotech to manage the environmental controls. Trying to rebuild a fully-functional vintage chemical launch system with period 20th century technology would be just silly...

Re:Eternal glory awaits the astronaut farmer (2, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801936)

The problem is getting these to orbit costs more than any of them whole.

Likely, you'd be better off designing one from scratch. That's why they are getting scrapped too...

How about a piece of Columbia? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30800194)

I'll take two.

all in the marketing (1)

JackSpratts (660957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800200)

paint them black and ming the merciless will buy the whole fleet.

Re:all in the marketing (3, Funny)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800220)

Paint them black and Ming won't be doing many re-entries per shuttle... %-P

Rgds

Damon

Barrett-Jackson (1)

zwede (1478355) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800266)

Isn't Barrett jackson holding another collector's auction next week? If people are willing to pay millions for an old car the space shuttle should be a hit!

What about already submitted proposals? (3, Informative)

EsJay (879629) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800272)

Does this mean they rejected all the existing bids? I thought about 20 applied, including:
National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton OH
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, NYC
Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Space Center Houston
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, Oregon
Tulsa Air and Space Museum
Museum of Flight, Seattle
Columbia Memorial Space Science Learning Center, Downey CA
Air Force Flight Test Center Museum, Edwards AFB, CA
San Diego Air and Space Museum
Palmdale Plant 42, CA

Re:What about already submitted proposals? (2, Insightful)

Fatal67 (244371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800354)

If Kennedy wants it, they should get it.

Re:What about already submitted proposals? (1)

AnotherUsername (966110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801346)

I'm surprised the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago didn't go for it. This is right up its alley.

Re:What about already submitted proposals? (1)

greenlead (841089) | more than 4 years ago | (#30803014)

I sent them an email asking about this, but I haven't gotten a reply yet. The MSI is the most convenient tech museum to me (NE Indiana), and I love going there.

Re:What about already submitted proposals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30803112)

Where would they put it? It's simply too big for the space that MSI has (or Boston Museum of Science, another possibility). I imagine the Smithsonian will put Discovery where the Enterprise is now.

Welcome to the last Days of The United States .... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30800340)

Where all our greatest technology, as well as our morals, are all up for sale.

IMHO this is a landmark in our history and portends our own breakup much like the old U.S.S.R.

Re:Welcome to the last Days of The United States . (1)

strangelovian (1559111) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800746)

This is absolutely correct. There are so many parallels between the U.S. now and the U.S.S.R. in the 1980's it's scary. We are a rapidly failing state, and now we have our Gorbachev. We peaked around the Apollo moon landing, and it's been all downhill from there -- the space program is a great barometer of the state of our nation. Oh well, it was a nice dream, now it's about to turn into a nightmare.

Unite it with the Buran! (1)

mattMad (1271832) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800346)

How about uniting one with a Buran:
http://speyer.technik-museum.de/node/649 [technik-museum.de]
Admitted, the cost of transporting it to Germany might be significant...

plus 5, Troll) (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30800380)

core teamo. They coomunity at

Enterprise (1)

danielobvt (230251) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800430)

Is already on display. I don't think it is going anywhere. It is at the Udzar Hazey Annex to the Air and Space Museum. Though it would be cool for the main downtown site to have on that actually went into space.

Re:Enterprise (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801134)

I think the plan is swapping for Discovery, the Enterprise will go to some other museum.

That's the proof there are no real rich geeks (2, Interesting)

GuerreroDelInterfaz (922857) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800478)

As I'm into house automation and such, I mostly work for filthy rich people. And those people really buy lots of incredibly expensive unuseful crap like hand-made custom choppers to display in their living room (I'm a biker and that pains me), castles as country house, Juan Miró paintings for the crapper and such.

If I was that rich, I'll *ride* the chops and I'll certainly never miss the opportunity of having my own space shuttle on my back yard. Don't you too?

--
El Guerrero del Interfaz

Re:That's the proof there are no real rich geeks (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800640)

If I was that rich, I'll *ride* the chops and I'll certainly never miss the opportunity of having my own space shuttle on my back yard. Don't you too?

filthy rich guy implies a trophy wife.

trophy wife is probably incompatible with our preferred decor.

Even a typical standard issue wife is borderline incompatible with my typical guy collection of ham radio gear, metalworking tools, electronics stuff, and computer parts. More, or higher class, versions of the same stuff would be even less wife approved. I may feel a full size professional grade SMD hot air rework station with a shelf full of accessories would be a vast improvement over my old traditional soldering station, but most female "interior decorator wannabes" would disagree. This coming from a guy whom thought interior decorating meant using an empty spray painted cable-reel for a bedside table and didn't own a non-folding dining room set until mid 2000.

Re:That's the proof there are no real rich geeks (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800960)

Juan Miró paintings for the crapper and such.

I guess you did Juan Antonio Roca's house then.

Didn't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30800662)

Peter Griffin already buy one in one episode of Family Guy?

You could probably build a replica from LEGOs (1)

syntheticmemory (1232092) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800824)

$28 million would buy a lot of LEGOs- who will build the first full scale shuttle replica?

I wonder... (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30800894)

So now the engines are available, along with other shuttle artifacts, for the cost of transportation and handling.

I wonder if you could make lamps, phone holsters and other geek baubles from the recycled parts and sell them with a certificate of authenticity that they were made from space shuttle parts?

I've got a two story garage already set up for metal fabrication...hmmmm.

Might be a good replacement for my doublewide... (1)

kimgkimg (957949) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801046)

Hopefully it has a working bathroom...

Paid by the tax payer .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30801050)

It should be given to public museums, not sold to private collectors.

Unless they want to return the money back to the tax payers, the parts should be given back to the community. Distribute the history around the country so that children from all locations and economical backgrounds can be inspired by the past.

Re:Paid by the tax payer .... (2, Informative)

EsJay (879629) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801608)

They are being given away. $28.8 million is the estimated "cost to complete display preparation for each Orbiter and ferry the Orbiter to its ultimate display location".

And private collectors are not invited: "Organizations responding to this RFI must be: 1) a U.S. museum, institution, or organization dedicated to education or educational outreach, including NASA Visitor Centers; 2) a U.S. Federal agency, State, Commonwealth, or U.S. possession or any municipal corporation or political subdivision thereof; or 3) the District of Columbia."

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/transition/home/int_orbiter_rfi.html [nasa.gov]

Re-gifting the Enterprise (1)

john82 (68332) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801446)

... and it is possible that the Enterprise, a shuttle prototype that never made it to space, will also be available.

Really, the Enterprise? And does Mr Pickens suppose that the National Air and Space Museum [si.edu] will give it back to NASA so that it can be sold? Somehow I find that highly unlikely.

Re:Re-gifting the Enterprise (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801920)

It might not belong to the museum. It wouldn't at all be unusual for the ship to be on loan at NASA's pleasure.

Vegas (4, Interesting)

soundguy (415780) | more than 4 years ago | (#30801570)

This thing really needs to be sitting in the middle of a Las Vegas casino. They could line it with slot machines and run high-stakes card games in the cargo bay.

enterprise ALREADY in smithsonian. (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 4 years ago | (#30803392)

Whoever wrote this didn't do their work...the smithsonian already owns the Enterprise: http://www.nasm.si.edu/UdvarHazy/ [si.edu]

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