Delayed Launch Dates Have Museums, Cities Waiting And
What museum with any connection to space or space flight
wouldn't want a retired Space Shuttle as part of its collection?
But with only three shuttles to disburse, and one of them promised
to the Smithsonian, the competition for the orbiters is already
Discovery Lands At KSC In Florida
And NASA is still not sure when they'll stop flying.
Manifest delays in the final two remaining scheduled shuttle
missions have pushed the final expected flight into February of
next year, and NASA spokesman Mike Curie told CollectSpace.com that
"They haven't established a new date" for the retirement
So far, 21 organizations have made a pitch for one of the
retired shuttles, according to MSNBC, including NASA visitors
centers in Florida and Texas. Many have involved their members of
Congress, which has placed a decidedly political overtone on the
At least one group, the National Aviation Heritage Alliance in
Dayton, OH, says Florida and Texas have made an "end run" around
the process by championing a section of the 2010 NASA authorization
bill which gives "priority consideration" to facilities in regions
where there is "an historical relationship with either the launch,
flight operations or processing" of the orbiters. Facilities in
Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Washington State are all staging
aggressive public relations campaigns in an effort to sway the
decision their way.
Atlantis Rolls Out At KSC Florida
Meanwhile, it is not certain that February will be the end of
the program. Bills working their way through both chambers of
Congress call for an additional shuttle mission to fly not earlier
than July, 2011. So those hoping to have a retired shuttle to draw
people through the turnstiles may still have a long wait ahead.