Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Orbiter Atlantis To Roost In Retirement At KSC

The shuttle orbiter Atlantis will be displayed in retirement at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, officials said today.

Discovery, as expected, is heading to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum annex in Dulles, Va.

The prototype orbiter Enterprise will move from the Smithsonian to the Inteprid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York.

And in a surprise, Endeavour will roost in retirement at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Many had thought an orbiter or the prototype would have gone to the Johnson Space Center in Houston or the Air Force museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. Or the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

The California Science Center was selected because it is located near the Palmdale, Calif., manufacturing facility where the orbiters were assembled.

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden made the announcement at a ceremony outside Orbiter Processing Facility Bay No. 1, the hangar where Atlantis is being prepped for NASA's 135th and final flight this summer. Launch is set for June 28.

More than 20 museums and educational facilities submitted proposals to NASA, hoping to serve as the retirement home of one of the orbiters. Several will become home of significant shuttle artifacts.

++ Various shuttle simulators will go to Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum of McMinnville, Ore., and Texas A&M's Aerospace Engineering Department.

++ A full fuselage trainer will go to the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

++ A nose cap assembly and crew compartment trainer will go to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

++ Flight deck pilot and commander seats will go to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

++ Orbital Maneuvering System engines will go to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center of Huntsville, Ala., the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in Oregon.

Click HERE for information on artifacts that are available for disposition at the end of the shuttle program.

ABOUT THE IMAGE: Click to enlarge the NASA image of shuttle Atlantis touching down on Runway 33 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida after 11 days in space, completing the 4.5-million mile STS-129 mission on orbit 171. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann


Richard said...

The California Science Center is located at the University of Southern California (USC) campus...which is almost 100 miles away from Palmdale. But seeing as how I live in SoCal, I am THRILLED with Bolden's decision. Go Endeavour! :)

Fishygal said...

What the hell? How much did it cost California to pull this off? Johnson Space Center deserved this shuttle. Money talks and BS walks I guess. >:(

bradyct71 said...
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Mark Lopa said...

Enterprise currently still has the worm logo. I hope they don't meatball her when she's shipped to New York.

Also, I wish there was some way to honor Columbia and Challenger. I have no idea what they could do, honestly, but it just seems wrong to do nothing. It was nice to see their two banners on the top in easy view at the ceremony today, however.

Stephen C. Smith said...

Palmdale is 60 miles from downtown L.A., not 100 miles.

Richard said...

"How much did it cost California to pull this off?"

Around $1 billion per orbiter...seeing as how California is the birthplace of the shuttles ;)

"Palmdale is 60 miles from downtown L.A., not 100 miles."

I said 'almost'.

Stephen C. Smith said...

The Rockwell plant in Downey also played a significant role in Shuttle development. Downey is about 10-15 miles from downtown L.A.

The selected site is in Exposition Park, where the L.A. Coliseum and many other museums are located. It's just a couple miles south of downtown and near the intersection to major freeways, as well as a few miles east of LAX.