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NASA Announces Final Homes of Shuttle Fleet

CmdrTaco posted about 3 years ago | from the new-york-just-got-cooler dept.

NASA 195

PyroMosh writes "NASA administrator Charles Bolden just announced the final homes for the four remaining Space Shuttle Orbiters in a ceremony at Kennedy Space Center today commemorating the 30th anniversary of the first Shuttle launch. The Shuttle Atlantis will remain at NASA's home of Shuttle Launch operations — Kennedy Space Center. Endeavour will be displayed at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, just miles from where she was assembled. Discovery will be moved to the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum in Virginia outside of Washington DC — the very hangar that Enterprise now occupies. Finally, the Shuttle airframe prototype Enterprise will be moved from her current home to the U.S.S. Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum in New York City."

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195 comments

Bittersweet... (3, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | about 3 years ago | (#35797648)

It's good that we have a museum to put these historic artifacts into, but I would prefer that we have something to replace them with. That feeling is more intense when I see either a Saturn V or a LEM at one of the museums.

Re:Bittersweet... (1)

jd (1658) | about 3 years ago | (#35798234)

We're lucky to have those in museums. The only "complete" Saturn V was left out in the rain with zero protection and zero maintenance. It is getting a major overhaul now, but we nearly lost irreplaceable history there. (Next time someone in the US says that it has less history than other countries, stop and consider how close we came to losing one of the most significant pieces in the 20th century. Then consider how much has indeed been lost through negligence or lack of resources. Then consider slapping the person because it's in believing there's nothing historically important that there's so very little historically important left.)

Re:Bittersweet... (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#35798622)

Sadly, it costs money to preserve. And politicians don't like to give money to projects unless they can get some present-day political mileage out of them.

Re:Bittersweet... (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | about 3 years ago | (#35798920)

Boeing CST-100, Lockheed Orion, SpaceX Dragon, and Sierra Nevada DreamChaser.

Not only are we replacing it, we're getting multiple options so a catastrophic failure on one doesn't ground us.

Politics... (0)

cobrausn (1915176) | about 3 years ago | (#35797684)

Take a look: http://www.npr.org/news/specials/election2008/2008-election-map.html#/president?view=race08 [npr.org] Then look again at the list of cities getting a shuttle. Still surprised Houston wasn't chosen?

I'm not normally one to read politics into everything, but this...

Re:Politics... (2)

Ogive17 (691899) | about 3 years ago | (#35797730)

What about Dayton? Ohio went to Obama.

All 4 end up on the coast, such a travesty. There was no need for NY to get one considering DC was guarenteed one.

Houston didn't get one because they had little to complement a shuttle, in relation to some of the other sites.

Re:Politics... (2)

cobrausn (1915176) | about 3 years ago | (#35797816)

I'll just quote an article I found from a local news station.

Richard Allen, the president and chief executive officer of Space Center Houston, wanted to bring a shuttle home.

"The orbiter itself is a national treasure," Allen said. "To be able to house a national treasure anywhere would certainly be a great thing for any organization. It has particular meaning for Houston because of our relationship with the space program."

U.S. Rep. John Culberson (R) said the decision for a shuttle to not be granted to Houston was politically motivated.

"It is sad and unfortunate that politics played such an obvious role in the placement of theses retiring orbiters," Culberson said. "The thought of an orbiter not coming home to rest at Space Center Houston is truly tragic. It is analogous to Detroit without a Model-T, or Florence without a da Vinci."

Houston Mayor Annise Parker (D) also believes the decision to not give Houston a shuttle was all about politics.

"This is certainly disappointing, but not entirely unexpected as the administration has been hinting that Houston would not be a winner in this political competition," Parker said. "I am disappointed for Houston, the Johnson Space Center family and the survivors of the Columbia and Challenger missions who paid the ultimate price for the advancement of space exploration. There was no other city with our history of human space flight or more deserving of a retiring orbiter. It is unfortunate that political calculations have prevailed in the final decision."

Re:Politics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798010)

Texas already has the Columbia - at least all the pieces and dust too small to collect...

Re:Politics... (-1, Offtopic)

cobrausn (1915176) | about 3 years ago | (#35798178)

Actually, it was the Challenger, and it blew up over the Atlantic near its launch pad in Florida. Back to troll school for you.

Re:Politics... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 3 years ago | (#35798620)

Huh? Yes it was a troll post, and Challenger did blow up over the Atlantic after takeoff, but Columbia disintegrated on reentry and threw debris over a lot of the central US, including Texas.

Poor taste yes, but his info wasn't really "wrong".

Re:Politics... (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | about 3 years ago | (#35798792)

Huh? Yes it was a troll post, and Challenger did blow up over the Atlantic after takeoff, but Columbia disintegrated on reentry and threw debris over a lot of the central US, including Texas.

Poor taste yes, but his info wasn't really "wrong".

My mistake. Troll on then, AC, Troll on.

Re:Politics... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 3 years ago | (#35797836)

All 4 end up on the coast, such a travesty. There was no need for NY to get one considering DC was guarenteed one.

They're probably on the coasts because that's where the tourist dollars go to. A majority of visitors to the US go to the large cities on the east & west coasts. The museums will draw a much bigger crowd (and probably charge extra) for the Shuttle exhibits.

Re:Politics... (1)

eleuthero (812560) | about 3 years ago | (#35797898)

They are going to free museums. The coasts are also where the majority of the population lives--of course, the people living in the MidWest, South (no, like most people, I don't include Florida here), most of the Southwest, and Northwest kind of suffer ... hmmm.

Re:Politics... (1)

akh (240886) | about 3 years ago | (#35798022)

The Intrepid is definitely not free (unless you count viewing from the highway),

Re:Politics... (2)

PyroMosh (287149) | about 3 years ago | (#35798056)

I just got back from seeing a Shuttle launch. The KSC visitor center is ATTACHED to KSC, but is privately operated. It's not free.

I haven't been to the center in LA since I was 12, so I can't comment. I just don't remember.

The Smithsonian center in DC is free. I just saw Enterprise earlier this year.

The U.S.S. Intrepid is not free either. I was just there a year ago.

Both KSC and Intrepid are well worth the price of admission, but neither are free. So that certainly wasn't part of the criteria.

I live in NJ, so DC and NYC both an easy trip for me. That said, it seems sort of unfair to have two in such close proximity. I just finished listening to the NASA press conference and all the reporters from the Chicago and Houston areas were livid.

Wright-Patterson thought they might get one too, though I understand why NASA avoided a military museum.

Re:Politics... (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 3 years ago | (#35798182)

Yes and no. one must remember something like 60% of the population of the USA lives on the eastern seaboard.

That said, while I am not surprised I really wished one of them was heading to europe to show them that reaching for the stars is possible.

Re:Politics... (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | about 3 years ago | (#35798598)

The Smithsonian center in DC is free. I just saw Enterprise earlier this year.

I would say when you pay for parking however, that the museum is not free.

Re:Politics... (1)

demonbug (309515) | about 3 years ago | (#35799098)

The Smithsonian center in DC is free. I just saw Enterprise earlier this year.

I would say when you pay for parking however, that the museum is not free.

Parking is expensive, but then it's an airport - if they didn't charge a lot you would probably have people parking at the museum to catch their flights. Still a lot cheaper than the daily garage at the airport (I'm guessing here - $15 is cheaper than the daily rate at nearby airports here, anyway), and only a short shuttle ride to the terminals...

Also, you can take mass transit to get there. I was there three or four years ago, as I recall it was a short bus ride to the nearest metro station, and I think they were planning a dedicated (free?) shuttle to the museum on the mall.

Re:Politics... (1)

PseudononymousCoward (592417) | about 3 years ago | (#35798116)

They are going to free museums.

What? The Udvar-Hazy is free (though parking is $10 or $15 per car), but the Intrepid museum and the Kennedy Space Center Museum are both definitely not free, and are both, in fact, private organizations. Kennedy is here: http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/buy-tickets-admission-hours.aspx [kennedyspacecenter.com] Intrepid's site seems not to be responding. I don't know anything about the LA location. But having taken the family to Intrepid, Kennedy, Udvar-Hazy, and Air Force museum; I can assure you that 'free' had nothing to do with the site selection. In fact, as the museums must now pay NASA $28m (except for the Smithsonian), I'd say that the free museums were at a disadvantage.

Re:Politics... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 3 years ago | (#35798700)

Most of the states that comprise the south (even if you leave out Florida) are still coastal states (as long as we're allowed to count the Gulf Coast too). In reality too most of the the South has FAIRLY close access to either Florida or DC, so distance isn't much of a problem.

Re:Politics...Houston has a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797746)

Houston has a problem?

to obvious?

Re:Politics... (0, Troll)

Tsiangkun (746511) | about 3 years ago | (#35797832)

Texas is anti-science. Texas is where anti-science text books get rubber stamped for use in schools across the country. I'm rather glad we aren't sending historical artifacts from when we led in Science and Engineering to the state that most directly destroys science education in this country.

Re:Politics... (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | about 3 years ago | (#35797856)

You're such an idiot I would love to just ignore you, but I cant. We have more than our share of 'anti-science' folks, but to label the entire state as anti-science, especially considering our numerous contributions to science and engineering in this country, is to show just how fucking ignorant you are.

Re:Politics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798522)

While I feel your pain at being labeled "anti-science" just because of the state you reside in, lets keep things in perspective. All that happened was your state didn't get a museum piece. It's not like someone decided to stop vaccine shipments from going to Texas.

And as true as it may be that Texas continues to contribute to scientific advancement, those who would do science and learning harm are unfortunately in a very good place to do so. [slashdot.org]

Re:Politics... (0)

cobrausn (1915176) | about 3 years ago | (#35798672)

Yes, it is unfortunate that the rest of the country is so cheap as to not be able to shell out for better textbooks when some moral conservatives screw up ours. If other states were truly that concerned about the modifications to their textbooks, they would appeal to the voters of their states to shell out more money for better ones, but when there is a lot of sympathizers in said states who would rather not, they can just point to economic hardships and hang up Texas as an effigy. This then creates situations where some idiot calling an entire state with notable contributions to science and engineering 'anti-science' gets modded up on a blog for supposedly intelligent people.

Re:Politics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35799144)

Texas picks the anti-science text books.

That is their modern day contribution to science. The 70s are over.

Re:Politics... (1)

MaxBooger (1877454) | about 3 years ago | (#35798054)

Texas is anti-science. Texas is where anti-science text books get rubber stamped for use in schools across the country. I'm rather glad we aren't sending historical artifacts from when we led in Science and Engineering to the state that most directly destroys science education in this country.

Wheeeee! Don't you just digg the new /.?

Re:Politics... (0)

cobrausn (1915176) | about 3 years ago | (#35798092)

Here, I'll reinforce my argument that you are an ignorant twit with another reply (as we still don't have a damned edit option): http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/03/20/1648254/Citation-Map-Shows-Top-Science-Cities [slashdot.org]. Notice the large volume of contributions out of Texas. Then sit there and look stupid. It is exactly your kind of idiotic mentality that leads me to believe there was political maneuvering in this decision.

Re:Politics... (1)

necro81 (917438) | about 3 years ago | (#35797886)

Yes, the voters of California, New York, Florida, and DC are being rewarded for going for Barack Obama, while Texas is being punished for going to McCain.

Are you nuts?

This is an imbecilic notion if for no other reason than the simple fact that politicians are much more concerned with the elections still to come than the ones in the past. Politicians are in the game of making promises for the future, not delivering on the past. In other words, if politics was the big motivating factor, why was the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, in Ohio, a key battleground for 2012, not chosen?

Orders of magnitude more tourists are going to see the shuttles in Los Angeles, Washington DC, and New York City than they are in Houston. and while mission control is in Houston, the shuttle was assembled, launched from, and usually returned to the Cape. I don't need to search around for nefarious reasons why the shuttles are being allocated this way: these choices make sense.

Re:Politics... (1)

nharmon (97591) | about 3 years ago | (#35797930)

I think all but one site made sense. The Smithsonian because that is where we normally house things of great historical importance. Kennedy Space Center because that was where the shuttles were launched. Los Angeles because the Shuttles were built in Palmdale and a west coast location would allow more people to see one.

But New York City? It seems a strange choice for a couple of reasons. What contribution did they make to the Shuttle program?

Second, where are they planning on putting it? It was my understanding that any potential location would need to have a climate-controlled facility so as to preserve the shuttles for many years. But where in the vicinity of the USS Intrepid is there a place to put Enterprise? I mean, they can't just throw it on a barge like they did with the Concorde and call it a day (unless they have some serious political power behind them).

It makes me sad that so-called "flyover country" will have to go to the coast to see one of these things.

Re:Politics... (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | about 3 years ago | (#35798034)

The New York choice is precisely the one that made me suspicous of political maneuvering.

Re:Politics... (2)

Gravatron (716477) | about 3 years ago | (#35798512)

It's close to DC, sure, but also a massive tourist attraction. Easy access to millions of international tourists is an obvious plus.

Re:Politics... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about 3 years ago | (#35798676)

Agreed.

A much more reasonable place to put it, IMO, would have been the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL, where they have lots of space-related exhibits all together in one place. Putting a single shuttle in NYC by itself in a city that has basically no other space-related exhibits makes little sense.

Re:Politics... (1)

PyroMosh (287149) | about 3 years ago | (#35798492)

This is my concern as well.

I just found the answer though:

The Intrepid plans to build a glass hangar on neighboring Pier 86 to protect the shuttle from the elements. The enclosure would include multiple platforms to give visitors different perspectives on the shuttle.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/04/12/intrepid-will-get-space-shuttle-enterprise/ [cbslocal.com]

So at least that's taken care of. Good for me, bad for the middle of the country. DC and NYC really are too close to call this decision totally fair.
/ :

Re:Politics... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#35798058)

Take a look: http://www.npr.org/news/specials/election2008/2008-election-map.html#/president?view=race08 [npr.org] Then look again at the list of cities getting a shuttle. Still surprised Houston wasn't chosen? I'm not normally one to read politics into everything, but this...

I certainly agree that political payback is an ongoing problem but lets look at the locations.

Florida, Kennedy Space Center: The launch site for all US manned missions and NASA's premier tourist attraction.
Virginia, Smithsonian: The county's premier Air and Space museum.
How could shuttles not go to these locations?

Los Angeles: At least one west coast site seems necessary and the shuttle was assembled there.
New York: OK, the east cost is already represented and the central regions of the country have been left out so far. However you could argue that population density suggests the north east over the north west or the center regions. That is as plausible as politics. Now consider that New York City is the most popular tourist destination in the US. Now add that the Sea, Air and Space museum is the WW2 aircraft carrier the USS Intrepid. The Intrepid once fought along side an Enterprise, now she will carry one. I think compelling non-political arguments can be made for NYC/Intrepid.

More on USS Intrepid ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 years ago | (#35798570)

New York: OK, the east cost is already represented and the central regions of the country have been left out so far. However you could argue that population density suggests the north east over the north west or the center regions. That is as plausible as politics. Now consider that New York City is the most popular tourist destination in the US. Now add that the Sea, Air and Space museum is the WW2 aircraft carrier the USS Intrepid. The Intrepid once fought along side an Enterprise, now she will carry one. I think compelling non-political arguments can be made for NYC/Intrepid.

I should have mentioned that the USS Intrepid also recovered some astronauts returning from space.

I was mistaken with respect to "carrying" the shuttle. Apparently the shuttle will have its own enclosure alongside the Intrepid.

That said, I wish the central regions of the country were getting something too. I am not arguing that NYC was the best choice, just that NYC/Intrepid is a very plausible choice and that politics is not a given.

Houston... (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 3 years ago | (#35798188)

FWIW they recently elected an openly homosexual mayor [wikipedia.org]. While Texas itself is still very much in the cultural stone age, some regions are gradually starting to learn how to smelt copper...

Re:Houston... (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | about 3 years ago | (#35798358)

Right, because electing a homosexual == culture. Sigh.

Despite the fact that it seems like half of us are completely enamored with the idea of living ideologically backwards, the other half of us are so awesome as to take that as our starting point and forge the 15th largest economy in the world. The same kind of pragmatic people who will elect a homosexual mayor because she is the best choice among the candidates, not because she is or is not homosexual, as that doesn't actually matter.

Keep trolling though, I hear it's cathartic.

Re:Houston... (1)

Gravatron (716477) | about 3 years ago | (#35798548)

Here in Texas, that indeed matters. Most of the rual areas seem to be massively anti-gay and neoconservative as can be. Back when the gay marriage amendment was passed, I knew plenty of people who spoke that failing to pass the ban was tantamount to surrendering the state 'to the gays'. Heck, the State GOP wants to make sodomy a crime again, and declare that the courts cannot review the law.

Re:Houston... (1)

cobrausn (1915176) | about 3 years ago | (#35798764)

Yes, but you are once again falling into the trap of labeling all Texans the same because of vocal (idiot) politicians, most of which are from rural areas where a few thousand people decide state representatives. It obviously matters to some people, but obviously didn't matter enough in the biggest city in Texas - Anise Parker won by a significant margin. Don't mix all the same flavors of GOP voters (one time or repeated) in the same bag - a lot of them are as neoconservative as it gets, but most I know are just pragmatic and could care less about 'the gays' or a lot of other neocon social issues. I know quote a few who voted for Anise because she was the more fiscally conservative of the two democrat choices.

Re:Politics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798628)

Washington and Oregon also went for Obama, yet the Seattle Museum of Flight and Evergreen Aviation Museum both got snubbed.

Yes, you are reading too much in to it.

I'm annoyed that three are on the East Coast, and only one on the West.

Smithsonian, a given. Intrepid? C'mon, you can travel to the Smithsonian. KSC? Alright, acceptable choice.

One on the West Coast, then one in the middle. (Dayton, Houston, or even Chicago.)

Re:Politics... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | about 3 years ago | (#35798822)

The real politics is the Cold War politics here. How about NASA scheduling the first shuttle launch of the 20th anniversary of Yuri Gragarin's first flight into space--just so they could forever obscure any celebration of his anniversary flight with their own. Such a petty and sad move.

RIP (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797688)

The height of human achievement is now just a fading memory. We're so worried about our tax rates and privatization, that we don't even see what we're throwing it all away. Whatever avoids the chopping block will be a parody of itself, a case of "Let's play pretend."

Re:RIP (4, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about 3 years ago | (#35797774)

The formula since the mid-'70s in almost every Western country has been as follows:

Make service bureaucratic and inefficient -> observe cost increase -> reduce service levels rather than bureaucracy -> observe service level reduction -> announce that partnership with private sector will improve service provision -> observe cost increase -> reduce service levels rather than profits -> observe service level reduction -> announce that government is a failure -> sell off everything -> announce record deficit reduction -> declare that your country is free from the tyranny of government -> end up with no service at all.

Enjoy your corporations.

Re:RIP (0)

mangu (126918) | about 3 years ago | (#35798494)

The formula since the mid-'70s in almost every Western country has been as follows:

Make service bureaucratic and inefficient

That's correct, it all starts with making it a state-provided service.

We can count ourselves lucky that in Western countries, differently from other places [wikipedia.org], not every service has been provided by the state.

Re:RIP (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | about 3 years ago | (#35799122)

What are we throwing away? A 40 year old design that never lived up to expectations?

Personally, I think US-based human space flight is looking more interesting than it has in as long as I can remember (I'm 25). We have multiple legitimate hardware designs with estimated deliveries in a 2-5 years. These are low-cost modern designs that take advantage not only of modern technology but also modern manufacturing techniques. They will enable modular missions that can be formulated and executed in that magical 8-year time period, without risking our continued access to LEO.

I'm excited.

Until The Shuttle Is Restarted By (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797704)

Energia [energia.ru] outbids them.

Yours in Murmansk,
K. Trout, C.

Re:Until The Shuttle Is Restarted By (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797776)

Buying antiques with that much wear and tear? They'd be better off commissioning a new Buran-type orbiter.

Ex Astris, Scientia (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797716)

The Enterprise should go to San Fransisco. Future Starfleet Academy Cadets could use it for training & simulations.

Houston has a problem. (1)

sajuuk (1371145) | about 3 years ago | (#35797728)

And the problem is that they've gotten snubbed due to politics. Being reminded that the USS Intrepid (on display in NYC) was involved in the early days of the space program, I can understand one going to NYC. But the closest thing LA has to being involved is the fact that it is near Vandenburg AFB, where the shuttle almost launched from. Any claim about "locations being chosen for their value to the american public" is a load of bull. The entire middle of the country is nowhere near any of the shuttles with these chosen locations.

Re:Houston has a problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797814)

California has had a hand in the shuttle program from the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB, to the Antelope Valley (where the Shuttles were constructed and retrofitted), to Rockwell in Canoga Park (Space Shuttle Main Engines).

Re:Houston has a problem. (1)

sajuuk (1371145) | about 3 years ago | (#35797876)

I admit my mistake. I forgot that the shuttles and engines were assembled in the LA area. Nerdrage got the better of me. There's still no reason to snub Houston though. I still smell the dirty hand of politics in this decision.

Re:Houston has a problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797946)

Agreed. Texas > California when it comes to contributions to the shuttle program.

Poor bastards.

Re:Houston has a problem. (2)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 3 years ago | (#35797954)

Nonsense. The shuttle were built in Southern California and it's a tribute to those who did it.

Re:Houston has a problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798000)

But the closest thing LA has to being involved is the fact that it is near Vandenburg AFB, where the shuttle almost launched from.

There's also the fact that half of all the shuttle missions landed at Edwards Air Force base, just north of L.A.. And that Boeing, which handled refurbishment of the shuttles, had it's facilities at its plant near Edwards. El Segundo and Downey, both in the L.A. area, have had a long history of many companies working in the Aerospace industry (Rockwell, Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, etc all worked on the shuttle in some way at some point, and all have major facilities in the L.A. area at some point), and many of those companies worked on elements of the shuttle program. That seems a stronger connection to the shuttle program than NYC ever had. That said, I am still surprised that L.A. won out over Houston. I'd think it would make sense to have one in Houston more than NYC for sure.

Seems to me these choices were based on the amount of people that would get exposed to these shuttles, so you hit the two biggest population centers (New York and L.A.), the smithsonian (D.C. / Virginia), and the place the shuttle was always launched from (Florida). That said, I am

Re:Houston has a problem. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 3 years ago | (#35798426)

And the problem is that they've gotten snubbed due to politics.

When you have more demand than supply, how else do you decide? I suppose they could auction them, but then people would complain about how that favors the richer facilities - and really it just amounts to another political decision. A lotto might have worked, but then you risk some location out in the sticks getting one. Maybe a lotto combined with high entrance requirements... but then politics would be involved in the entrance requirements.

I think I would have favored putting one at the Smithsonian, and then anyone who could put enough money in escrow to transport and store the thing could enter a lotto for the remaining shuttles.

Re:Houston has a problem. (2)

damiangerous (218679) | about 3 years ago | (#35798640)

But the closest thing LA has to being involved is the fact that it is near Vandenburg AFB, where the shuttle almost launched from

Endeavor was built in LA.

I'd like to take a minute to say (3, Interesting)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | about 3 years ago | (#35797732)

NASA needs to be given autonomy... they need to be given a long term goal (a generic one like "set up a moon colony as a dry run for a mars colony, then get to Mars", or "set up a mining outpost in the asteroid belt") and then left alone to decide the best way to achieve that. Having every president wanting to leave their mark on outer space like Kenedy did is irresponsible and leaves them with ever changing goals and a rotating set of tools to do the job. We've changed what vehicles they're supposed to be using two or three times now since they declared the end of the space shuttle. At this rate, an American vessel may never lift an astronaut in to space again. That's not even bringing congressional funding issues in to the mix...

Re:I'd like to take a minute to say (1)

Starmac (544848) | about 3 years ago | (#35798044)

>>NASA needs to be given autonomy... they need to be given a long term goal (a generic one like "set up a moon colony as a dry run for a mars colony, then get to Mars", or "set up a mining outpost in the asteroid belt") and then left alone to decide the best way to achieve that Sorry friend, can't agree with you on this one. NASA has always had a political component; they know who's buttering their bread. And why shouldn't NASA, like practically everyone else, report to the electorate? We've all heard the "science first" routine and then seen the internal positioning and squabbling result in unbelievable cost overruns, a la Livermore and the DOE. Even IF every employee was altruistic, without oversight the results can have unintended consequences, such as the Fed's manipulation of the market. "Experts" told they know better than the public, hold the public in disdain. Not how it's supposed to be. Think I'm wrong? How does your local DOT set the speed limits? It is supposed to be the 85th percentile of what drivers operate at, not what a traffic expert decides will produce the greatest revenue opportunities for their municipality.

Re:I'd like to take a minute to say (1)

WiglyWorm (1139035) | about 3 years ago | (#35798124)

And why shouldn't NASA, like practically everyone else, report to the electorate? We've all heard the "science first" routine and then seen the internal positioning and squabbling result in unbelievable cost overruns, a la Livermore and the DOE

Is this somehow better or worse than spending billions on W.'s launch vehicle only to have it scrapped and sent back to the drawing board by Obama?

Re:I'd like to take a minute to say (1)

jd (1658) | about 3 years ago | (#35798128)

I'd suggest something akin to the Charter system that the BBC in the UK operates under: freedom to do what the hell they like with such-and-such as the objective of the charter, no Governmental interference (other than charter renewal), none of the restrictions Government departments would normally operate under (such as copyright and patent restrictions, civil service rules, etc etc) and the right to hire the top brass without imposition of a selected appointee.

This system of a para-public organization (a hybrid of public and private) actually works quite impressively - you've the resources only a Government can amass combined with much of the efficiency you get in the private sector, with enough influence from both camps to limit the corruption either would bring on its own.

Yes, it does also have quite a few drawbacks (the BBC is effectively answerable only for charter violatations - it is otherwise a State in miniature unto itself - with the upshot that it's incredibly hard to beat the stupids out of it).

There's also the political consequences. In the US, I cannot imagine the military being thrilled with the idea of NASA becoming a virtual State with all the power and authority (and autonomy) that implies. I can't imagine the political parties being too happy either. Besides, if NASA were to become independent in such a manner and do so successfully, other Federally-funded activities might be inclined to join suit. You could end up with half of any given budget being contractually obligated with no room for political posturing.

Re:I'd like to take a minute to say (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 3 years ago | (#35798650)

Having every president wanting to leave their mark on outer space like Kenedy did is irresponsible and leaves them with ever changing goals and a rotating set of tools to do the job. We've changed what vehicles they're supposed to be using two or three times now since they declared the end of the space shuttle.

Solution: Instead of trying to "leave their mark" by creating an immensely difficult goal that requires tons of task-specific development and a huge vehicle to accomplish in the time allotted (and then gets canned with nothing to show for it), instead develop a large number of more manageable and general purpose capabilities and technologies, that will make future missions easier.

You know, what we're doing.

At this rate, an American vessel may never lift an astronaut in to space again.

Er, no, at this rate [wikipedia.org] we'll have an American vessel lifting astronauts to space in a few years.

That's not even bringing congressional funding issues in to the mix...

The biggest danger from Congress, besides them simply slashing the budget, is their insistence on having a NASA in-house gigantic useless boondoggle vehicle, perpetuating the problem.

East Coast Space Program (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797736)

Seriously? Three of the four shuttles on the East Coast? This is either politically biased or just more shit coming out of East Coast-centric government "thinkers".

Re:East Coast Space Program (1)

RollingThunder (88952) | about 3 years ago | (#35797806)

It's almost like the bulk of the US population is on the eastern seaboard!

Re:East Coast Space Program (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 3 years ago | (#35798156)

Yes, but that's not really an appropriate way of making the decision. Seattle has been incredibly important to the history of aviation, and yet what we get is a hand me down trainer. Not to mention that the northwest is more or less completely unrepresented. Not to mention the many astronauts that we've produced.

It's pretty screwed up given that NYC got one, and we didn't. And people wonder why we on the West Coast feel so resentful of the East Coasters. It's this sort of spoiled entitlement crap that really gets old. At least we here in Seattle have a meaningful connection to aviation.

Re:East Coast Space Program (2)

Ogive17 (691899) | about 3 years ago | (#35798408)

It's pretty screwed up given that NYC got one, and we didn't. And people wonder why we on the West Coast feel so resentful of the East Coasters. It's this sort of spoiled entitlement crap that really gets old. At least we here in Seattle have a meaningful connection to aviation.

At least the west coast got 1 shuttle and a trainer. The middle of the country got NOTHING.

I think those of us in "fly over country" should stop exporting our food products, use it as leverage to get someone to throw us a frickin' bone once in awhile.

Re:East Coast Space Program (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798480)

If it makes you feel any better we resent the west coast (mainly cali and san fran) for CARB, for being a nanny state, for making fast food places remove toys from happymeals (and now everyone is going ME TO ME TO!!)
 
  look, I dont mind if you out there are happy living in a place where the government tells you what kind of cars you drive, or what food you eat, but stop pushing it unto the rest of the country
 
  ~Annoyed Libertarian

Re:East Coast Space Program (2)

pavon (30274) | about 3 years ago | (#35797924)

No kidding. NY shouldn't have gotten one. They are just a stone's throw away from the Smithsonian, and had little to do with the space program. Houston or Huntsville would have been better choices for historic reasons, and Houston or Chicago for most widespread access to the public.

hymenology key to history, crusades exterminations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797786)

that, & why we're growing more hair (male & female), instead of monkeys growing less? fake weather? it's all in the book? chosen or frozen? rulers? yuk

FL was not snubbed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35797874)

FL was snubbed when VP Johnson got NASA to put mission control in TX in the early 60's. That has cost central FL many jobs over the last 50 years, especially with the end of Apollo (mini depression in FL, thanks Congress). FL will again be seriously hit with the end of the Shuttle especially with so much space tourism going to New Mexico (but FL does have Space X).

At least FL got Atlantis!

NYC Gets a Space Shuttle (Ok, not a SPACE shuttle) (1)

tedlistens (1697590) | about 3 years ago | (#35797936)

Not much of a space shuttle, now is it. Not that NYC deserved a shuttle or anything. There's a video here, and info on the consolation prizes: http://motherboard.tv/2011/4/12/new-york-city-just-got-a-space-shuttle-okay-not-a-space-shuttle-but [motherboard.tv]

Re:NYC Gets a Space Shuttle (Ok, not a SPACE shutt (2)

PyroMosh (287149) | about 3 years ago | (#35798386)

Calling Enterprise "not a space shuttle" depends largely on how you look at it.

When it rolled off the assembly line, NASA had every intention of flying Enterprise in space. She *was* a spacecraft. She only lacked engines (Main Engines, OMS thrusters, and RCS jets), and thermal protection system, and a few minor internal components.

Unfortunately, between Enterprise's completion, and Columbia's completion, some internal structural design changes were made.

It was realized that making the necessary changes to Enterprise would be too costly, so they retrofitted the Shuttle Test Article STA-99 instead. That "not a space shuttle" became Challenger.

Enterprise exposed to the elements? (1)

quacking duck (607555) | about 3 years ago | (#35798066)

I was worried that the Enterprise's new home would be parked outside and exposed to the elements and harsh smog of NYC. Thankfully, from the artist renderings it looks like she'll be enclosed in a glass visitor's building.

So, none to Houston eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35798082)

Well....thats a load of donkey/elephant doo-doo

Space City gets snubbed (1)

Zhrakkan (1208842) | about 3 years ago | (#35798086)

I trully think its a dis-service to the populace of the Gulf Coast. Houston has handled the Mission Control for all space flights for 50 years. Even before the shuttles they were there. Every part of the shuttle service was handled as some point from Houston... Sad sad sad....

So what happens to the Concorde? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 3 years ago | (#35798112)

The shuttle headed for NYC is supposed to sit on the pier next to the Intrepid currently occupied by a Concorde. I haven't seen yet what is supposed to happen to the Concorde... I would consider flying out to NYC to see those two aircraft in the same museum.

Re:So what happens to the Concorde? (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 3 years ago | (#35798312)

There's already a Concorde and a Space Shuttle (Enterprise) at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly Virginia. (As well as a ton of other aircraft. From Udvar-Hazy you can catch a shuttle that goes to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum in DC (I think you have to go to Dulles Airport, then to the Metro). http://www.nasm.si.edu/udvarhazy/ [si.edu]

Re:So what happens to the Concorde? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 3 years ago | (#35798488)

They also have the Enola Gay and an SR-71. Very cool museum - well worth the trip out there if you are in the DC area.

Re:So what happens to the Concorde? (1)

demonbug (309515) | about 3 years ago | (#35798916)

They also have the Enola Gay and an SR-71. Very cool museum - well worth the trip out there if you are in the DC area.

Second that. It is an incredible museum. I remember being wowed by the Air and Space museum on the mall as a kid, then being a little disappointed when I went back as an adult. The Udvar-Hazy is the grown-up version of the Air and Space museum. Really an amazing, cavernous space filled with cool and interesting aircraft.

Re:So what happens to the Concorde? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35799078)

They also have the Enola Gay and an SR-71. Very cool museum - well worth the trip out there if you are in the DC area.

The Museum of Flight in the Seattle area has both the Concorde and SR-71. They were also one of the sites that didn't picked for one of the shuttles, but as a consultation prize they're getting the full fuselage trainer that visitors will be able to walk in.

Re:So what happens to the Concorde? (1)

jarbrewer (1254662) | about 3 years ago | (#35798568)

If you want to see both, the Udvar-Hazy Center currently has both. With the added bonus of an SR-71 and the Enola Gay. You don't even have to leave the airport, assuming you fly into Dulles that is.

Seattle wanted one...But still gets a win (4, Insightful)

BearRanger (945122) | about 3 years ago | (#35798190)

For the Museum of Flight's new space wing, which is pretty much finished, with an available space for a Shuttle. But instead the museum will be getting a full fuselage Shuttle trainer. In a way this is actually better. The Shuttle can't be touched. However visitors will be able to go inside the trainer. Just as every astronaut who has ever flown the Shuttle has done.

Re:Seattle wanted one...But still gets a win (1)

proslack (797189) | about 3 years ago | (#35799140)

How do you know this? They are just as likely to plexiglass a trainer as a real shuttle. You can touch a piece of lunar rock (or at least the grime and grease of millions of fingers coating it) in Houston and Florida, I imagine they'll let people "touch a tile" or something like that. Alternately, you could just just buy yourself a chunk of meteorite for less than the cost of a family pass to KSC http://compare.ebay.com/like/230209530807?var=binlv&ltyp=AllFixedPriceItemTypes&var=sbar&rvr_id=224679782523&crlp=1_263602_324952&UA=WXF%3F&GUID=49f3655312f0a026824779e7ff56401d&itemid=230209530807&ff4=263602_324952 [ebay.com] . Besides, every astronaut has also bought gas at the Hess station just south of KSC, but they aren't putting the gas pumps in a museum. (Most) people want the real thing, not a "trainer".

Better suggestion (1)

PunditGuy (1073446) | about 3 years ago | (#35798726)

Should just fire one off in some random direction into deep space for the one in a googolplex chance of confusing the hell out of some ETs.
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