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NASA Space Science

Start Saving To Buy Your Space Shuttle Now 197

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-part-of-history dept.
stoolpigeon writes "With the retirement of the shuttle drawing near, NASA has begun to plan for museums that may want a used orbiter of their own. The Orlando Sentinel reports that NASA issued an RFI to US educational institutions, science museums and other organizations to see if they would be interested in the orbiter while also able to cover the estimated $42 million cost of 'safeing' the shuttle and transporting it."
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Start Saving To Buy Your Space Shuttle Now

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  • So uh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by sysusr (971503) <sysusr@NOspam.linuxmail.org> on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @07:17PM (#26153105)
    Are there any export restrictions?
  • eh... (Score:4, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @07:18PM (#26153119)

    They're selling the space shuttle--But why? There's already a glut of novelty ashtrays on the market. They won't get much for it.

    • Re:eh... (Score:5, Funny)

      by CarpetShark (865376) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @08:16PM (#26153619)

      Ahh, but this particular style of ashtray has roared into the sky, exploded, killed people, and shocked a nation. Not to mention costing a fortune, causing endless controversy, and having really crap tiles.

    • I would buy it... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by yog (19073) * on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @08:24PM (#26153691) Homepage Journal

      If I had the money, I'd buy the thing, set up a launch pad and a refueling station, and rent flights out to NASA. After all, they're retiring the shuttle five years too soon, so I figure I can make a few billion in rentals until the Orion starts up.

      Except it sounds like Obama wants to kill [wsj.com] the Orion project.

      I can't understand how they could be so keen on throwing $500 billion at failed banks and mortgage deadbeats, yet they have no problem cutting NASA's $30 billion budget. And then there's Obama's national health insurance which is bound to cost a few hundred billion, if not a trillion or two when it's up and running.

      Here's an idea: don't bail out the banks that made bad loans and investments, and let the mortgage deadbeats be foreclosed. That's the way our system is supposed to work. And take about $100 billion of that bailout money and put it into R&D, including space exploration. In the medium to long term, we will reap much richer economic rewards for such an investment.
       

      • Anybody trying to run a second hand shuttle would probably be told that it had to be recertified safe for human use. I can't say for sure, but I bet there's a rule somewhere for precisely this that allows man-rating to be removed if maintanence, storage environment, launch facilities, booster refitting... etc. are changed.

        Refuelling the shuttle isn't as simple as just hooking up the cryotanks and shoving a load of liquid hydrogen into it, the solid fuel boosters are incredibly complicated despite being ove
        • Re:I would buy it... (Score:5, Informative)

          by timeOday (582209) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:19PM (#26155457)
          Yup, the initial $42 million is a drop in the bucket when it comes to the shuttle: "the average cost per flight has been about $1.3 billion over the life of the program and about $750 million over its most recent five years of operations." (cite) [space.com]. I don't know whether that $1.3 billion is inflation adjusted - a very real consideration when a fair amount of the cost was up front in the late 1970s.
      • If I had the money, I'd buy the thing, set up a launch pad and a refueling station, and rent flights out to NASA.

        Do you have any idea how much it costs to turn around a shuttle for relaunch? Or to build the infrastructure capable of refurbishing and relaunching it? Apparently not. We're not talking about paltry hundreds of millions here.

        The rest of your rant is offtopic, but I'll note one thing - Obama is hardly the person to pick on about the bailouts. According to some sources I've seen,

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by vought (160908)

          Do you have any idea how much it costs to turn around a shuttle for relaunch? Or to build the infrastructure capable of refurbishing and relaunching it?

          Of course not. Anyone with even a passing familiarity of the overhaul each shuttle gets when it reaches the OPF knows that only Governments, Microsoft, and Google have the resources to launch a shuttle.

          Boeing and Lockheed (A.k.a. USA) might have a passing chance at operating the shuttle privately, but with the vehicle's inherent limitations, dangers, and co

          • The last decent figure I saw - this was some time ago - was about a half billion per launch. Of course this doesn't include infrastructure.

              Anytime I want to read pie-in-the-sky conjecture about the space program from people who have little to no idea what they're talking about, I come to Slashdot.

              I don't know why I bother to even read this site anymore.

            SB

      • by ErkDemon (1202789)
        There are some people who'd want to buy one just to leave it parked outside their mansion. Maybe use it as a poolhouse.

        One upmanship. Your neighbours have a collection of classic half-million-quid Ferraris, you have a space shuttle.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by osu-neko (2604)

        Except it sounds like Obama wants to kill [wsj.com] the Orion project.

        I can't understand how they could be so keen on throwing $500 billion at failed banks and mortgage deadbeats, yet they have no problem cutting NASA's $30 billion budget.

        Did you actually read the article you linked to? There's nothing in it that suggests Obama wants to kill the Orion project. Indeed, if he's looking at the cost of alternatives to the Ares rocket, it strongly suggests he plans to continue Orion. You don't need an Ares alternative if you're just going to kill Orion.

        There's also no suggestion in the article that he has any intention of cutting NASA's budget.

        ...And take about $100 billion of that bailout money and put it into R&D, including space exploration. In the medium to long term, we will reap much richer economic rewards for such an investment.

        Personally, I'd love to see NASA ax Orion and instead spend the money on space exploration, but make

        • by yog (19073) *

          Thanks for the correction, I meant of course the Ares booster rocket and not the Orion craft itself.

          I do question why Obama's team sees itself as fit to decide that an existing booster (Delta, Atlas) is more suitable than the upcoming Ares. As the article points out, these existing boosters are not really suitable for manned missions. It sounds like business as usual in Washington D.C., politicians meddling in technical matters. Wasn't Obama going to bring about a change to business as usual?

          Getting back

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Nyeerrmm (940927)

            There not saying they're qualified to make the decision themeselves, that's why they're trying to ask around from people who are qualified. Unfortunately Griffin is being so overprotective of his pet project that its making a mockery of the transition process, which on all other fronts seems to be the most graceful thing Bush has ever done.

            I've ranted a few times about why I think cutting Ares (particularly Ares 1) is a good idea... put simply its a mishmash that ignored the actual purpose of the Vision th

    • leave it in space (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ErkDemon (1202789) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:05PM (#26155331) Homepage
      Next time they send one up to the ISS, shouldn't they just leave it up there?

      That way the ISS gets extra accomodation, emergency toilets, emergency life support, and an emergency escape vehicle, all in one. Plus, a cool vehicle parked out the front.

      It costs a small fortune to send a shuttle into space. That's where its most useful. If its on its last mission, and its never going to be relaunched, why bother bringing the thing all the way back, just to be decomissioned?

      Leave it up there, where it's useful and happy!

      • by vought (160908) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @11:31PM (#26155605)

        "If its on its last mission, and its never going to be relaunched, why bother bringing the thing all the way back, just to be decomissioned?"

        Heat, power, air, maintainability. Not to mention that the ISS crew rotating out would need a way to get home and the trip is free.

        The ISS was built to store/supply all these things for months at a time. The shuttle was never meant to.

        Another factor - drag - shouldn't be discounted either. While the drag at ISS altitude is very tiny, it does exist.

        • Another factor - drag - shouldn't be discounted either. While the drag at ISS altitude is very tiny, it does exist.

          Are you implying the Shuttle is less streamlined than, say, a solar panel?

      • Those capsules, they don't have wings. Inside all they get are a few switches and dials to make the 'pilot' feel like he is contributing his little bit to the mission. The shuttle, that has rows and rows of dignitary fascination panels, lots of lights, switches, dials, and little TV's everywhere. It even has a sun roof. It's not meant to fall like a brick, and sure it probably has an autopilot, but it's a tad more complicated than typing KSFO in to flightgear.

        You'd have to maintain several rather long runwa

  • Most military and government equipment only looks cool from afar. Up close, it looks like hammered dog meat.

    If you don't want to shatter the illusion that high tech stuff has the fit and finish of a fine automobile, you really don't want to see it up close and personal.

    On the other hand the sense of history can't be duplicated...
    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @07:29PM (#26153237)

      Most military and government equipment only looks cool from afar. Up close, it looks like hammered dog meat.

      Maybe it'll get some proper respect to the risks those people took climbing into it with several thousand tons of rocket fuel burning at their ass. I rather doubt many people would have the guts to fly the first airplane either once they realized they could put their foot through the wing without any effort.

      • by Gordonjcp (186804)

        I rather doubt many people would have the guts to fly the first airplane either once they realized they could put their foot through the wing without any effort.

        Yeah. I don't want it "safed". I want it complete, and capable of being restored to flying condition. Fly a space shuttle? Myself? Damn straight.

        • by peragrin (659227)

          at several hundred million a launch you won't take it out very often.

          • by hey! (33014)

            That's the expense to put it in orbit. It wouldn't cost as much to just to fly the thing.

            • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @08:25PM (#26153697)

              That's the expense to put it in orbit. It wouldn't cost as much to just to fly the thing.

              "flight" is a relative term when dealing with the shuttle. It doesn't fly so much as fall in a controlled fashion.

            • by Kemanorel (127835)

              I believe the quote from shuttle pilots was something along the lines of, "it flies like a brick with wings."

              If I recall correctly, it doesn't so much fly on its own. It merely glides from about as high altitude as we typically get these days to a rather ungainly landing while shedding enough speed to turn gasses in the atmosphere into plasma due to the friction. And then there's still the excess speed on the runway that requires drag chutes to stop before it gets the the end of the landing zone.

              Don't get

              • by bitrex (859228) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:51AM (#26156627)

                Some of the failings of the Shuttle's design can be placed squarely upon the DOD requirements for the vehicle that hamstrung the engineers. The original plan for the Shuttle was for it to have much smaller wings than the current design - indeed one of the Shuttle's engineers who spoke at an MIT lecture on aeronautical engineering stated that originally the Shuttle was either going to be a straight lifting body (like the X-23), or have a set of straight, narrow auxiliary wings.

                However, one of the Defense Department's requirements was that the orbiter have a 1000 mile crossrange, i.e. that in a time of crisis the Shuttle could lift off from Vandenberg AFB, dump a DOD payload (read: spy satellite or orbital bombardment system) into orbit, and return and land at Vandenberg, without waiting for more than one orbit for the Earth to rotate into a more favorable position (or long enough for an enemy to calculate the payload's orbit). Without military support the Shuttle project would go nowhere, so the large delta wings that proved so vulnerable to foam strikes were there to stay.

                The MIT lectures concerning this design compromise and many others are available on iTunes U. Another interesting fact is that apparently the lack of sophisticated CAD programs at the time of the Shuttle's design caused the engineers to settle on a less-than-optimal routing scheme for the main engine plumbing: if there were computers that could have calculated a better routing topology the engine system could have been designed as a modular unit that pulled in and out of the orbiter like a giant PCI card, shaving weeks off the turnaround time.

            • by OneFix (18661)

              I am pretty sure you're joking, but you know the shuttle has the flight characteristics of a "flying brick", right?

              The wings on the thing are just on there to help control the descent and serve as fuel storage.

              I hesitate to call the shuttle a "glider", but that's pretty much what it is.

              • by hey! (33014)

                Indeed I do.

                There are much better ways to spend your money if you want the thrill of flight. There are probably better ways of spending your money if you want the thrill of space flight. I'm presuming its the thrill of operating a piece of history that is the relevant question here. That's a lot more subjective.

              • by vought (160908)

                The wings on the thing are just on there to help control the descent and serve as fuel storage.

                Shuttle keeps fuel in the wings, hunh? That's a new one. Here I was, all these years, thinking that's what the big orange tank was for.

                The wings on the shuttle do not provide lift; the entire shape of the shuttle does. Do a search for "NASA lifting body tests".

                • by bitrex (859228)
                  I believe there may be some fuel storage tanks in the wings of the shuttle, but obviously not for storing SSME fuel as the grandparent poster believed. The fuel storage tanks onboard the orbiter are hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide for the maneuvering thrusters; the hydrazine is also used to power the shuttle's APUs. Among other functions the APUs provide power for the hydraulics that actuate the orbiter's flight controls during descent. You can often see the exhaust from the APU's after a Shuttle landin
      • by mortonda (5175)

        I've been to the Kansas Cosmosphere [cosmo.org] where they have several space vehicles on display, including the Apollo 13 module - it's a great museum.

        I don't know if they have the kind of budget to try for this but I hope they can. They are also one of the premier shops when it comes to restoring such items; They actually did the work for the spacecraft in the Apollo 13 movie.

    • Most military and government equipment only looks cool from afar. Up close, it looks like hammered dog meat.

      I think a lot of pilots and engineers would appreciate the lived in look of the shuttle flight deck.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zackbass (457384)

      It only looks like hammered dog meat if you don't know what you're looking at. I'm sure all the engineers that see the stuff are both amazed by the audacity of most of these designs and by the fact that they ever even approached the reliability they have with such complexity. On the other hand, I'm sure most of the same engineers have gripes about almost all of the design details.

      You've still got to admire the complete absurdity of such machines though.

      • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @09:01PM (#26153947) Homepage

        I'm sure all the engineers that see the stuff are both amazed by the audacity of most of these designs and by the fact that they ever even approached the reliability they have with such complexity.

        Exactly. I look at the space shuttle and I don't just see kludge of unfortunate design trade offs. I see the huge, hairy balls of the engineers who not only thought they could make it work, but actually did it.

        Of course, this means I have no interest in buying a Shuttle even if I could afford one, cus who wants that imagery in their head all the time?

    • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @07:46PM (#26153403)

      My team and I were getting set up to work in a phased maintenance hanger. I was a new troop and this was my first Real Duty Assignment. Were were in the shadow of a real aircraft. I was drinking it all in. I look up at the tail of the bird we were about to take to task.

      "Alright," I say, "I know the big numbers are the squadron and the tail number for the aircraft. But what are those two small numbers in front of the tail number?" My boss looks over and replies, "oh - that's the year of manufacture."

      "Woah," I say in awe, "this thing is older than I am!" My boss turns to me... looks me over and sighs, "I'm getting too old."

      It's not that these aircraft aren't well maintained. But they are well used. And they consist of very dated (if effective) technology that tends to be utilitarian in design to begin with.

      But having said that - sitting in the seat of a jet fighter is an impressive sight. Even if you know the history of the technology in front of you. There's a cool factor that only a small percentage of people have enough exposure to eventually wear off.

      I've never set foot on an actual shuttle. But I imagine the training mockups are close enough. And they impressed the same cool factor I got from both real and training mockups (we used to log unbooked time in the trainers) for the fighters I used to maintain.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by quanticle (843097)

        And they consist of very dated (if effective) technology that tends to be utilitarian in design to begin with.

        Well, not always dated, necessarily. Take the B-52, for example. Yeah, the airframe is old, but the avionics and control systems have been significantly upgraded since the planes were originally built. As I understand it, the space shuttle has also gone through multiple upgrade cycles.

        Frankly, I don't know who to admire more - the engineers who build these things, or the engineers who have to go back over them and upgrade the designs.

      • The first time I sat in a 'front line' fighter jet, I was amazed at how 'beat' it was. F-111E, England, mid 70's. Some of you can figure out what base it was.
        But yes...those things are well used, but well-maintained. And very, very cool.
    • by afidel (530433)
      Sorry but the fit is pretty good on the shuttle,it has to be or that plasma problem Columbia had would be a lot more common.... Not to mention that whole keeping the atmosphere in against the vacuum of space thing.
      • by Dzimas (547818)

        In the real world, we refer to "that plasma problem Columbia had" as a gaping hole. It had nothing to do with the fit of the shuttle and everything to do with a nasty and unpredictable projectile striking the ship.

        What the op was referring to is the fact that the interior of a spacecraft is worlds away from the fit and finish of a mass-produced commercial jetliner. Every component of the shuttle was built in very small numbers - they're essentially prototype vehicles, hence the ridiculous cost of each ship.

    • Bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gregbot9000 (1293772) <mckinleg@csusb.edu> on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @07:57PM (#26153483) Journal
      I saw the Saturn-5 at the L.B.J. space center when I was five, I still cite it as one of the coolest things I've ever seen. You could touch it thats how close to it you are.

      I've been inside of tanks, B-52's, subs, air-craft carriers and SR-17's that were decommissioned and beat to hell but were pretty awesome. No body gives a shit about the High Tech gloss, they care about the awesome engineering feats they are. Most people who are interested in the science and engineering of some of mankind's greatest projects don't really care about the fact that it's covered in oil.

      If you go see the shuttle up close and your first thought is that it has a bad paint job, maybe you should just stick to playing with dolls.
    • I saw a shuttle launch in high-def for the first time last year. I would swear that in some close-up shots prior to launch you could make out individual tiles and just see the serial numbers or that identify where each one goes (couldn't read them of course, but it was obvious they were there).

      It's probably just the techy in me, but though I like the fine polish of car, I can certainly appreciate the rougherer construction around raw engineering.

    • Rat Rods (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tekrat (242117)

      There are all kinds of tastes in this world. Some people don't care about the fit and finish of a fine automobile (although we can appreciate it). But there are those who actually prefer the rough edges, we're happy building our own cars out of whatever materials are at hand, and the results are often surprising and exciting, even if the fit and finish is nowhere close to a high-end car.

      The purpose of a shuttle, or any other government built equipment isn't to look nice. It's to get the job done, and usuall

  • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @07:21PM (#26153145)

    "What do you mean, 'where are the keys for it?' Awwww man..."

    • Didn't Shatner tell you? Space ships don't have keys!
  • Evergreen Aviation and Space Musuem [sprucegoose.org], in McMinnville, west of Portland OR, has already erected 'coming soon' billboards and made space indoors for one of the retired Shuttle's...will be a nice bookend to their Titan II missle that stands upright in the newest exhibit hall.
    • Evergreen Aviation and Space Musuem [sprucegoose.org], in McMinnville, west of Portland OR, has already erected 'coming soon' billboards and made space indoors for one of the retired Shuttle's...will be a nice bookend to their Titan II missle that stands upright in the newest exhibit hall.

      Hmmm I wonder if a fueled up Titan II can lift a shuttle orbiter?

      • A Titan II can lift a 4,200 pound payload - a Shuttle weighs 4.5 million pounds with a maximum payload weight of approximately 50,000 pounds.
        • Re:Do the math... (Score:4, Informative)

          by icebrain (944107) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @07:45PM (#26153393)

          a Shuttle weighs 4.5 million pounds with a maximum payload weight of approximately 50,000 pounds

          That's for the entire stack - orbiter, boosters, and full external tank. The orbiter itself has an empty weight of about 180,000 lb. So you're looking for a launcher that can put 200,000lb or so into orbit; there are only a couple: Saturn V, Energia, and the shuttle (remember, the orbiter goes into orbit too, plus whatever it's carrying).

          • a Shuttle weighs 4.5 million pounds with a maximum payload weight of approximately 50,000 pounds

            That's for the entire stack - orbiter, boosters, and full external tank. The orbiter itself has an empty weight of about 180,000 lb. So you're looking for a launcher that can put 200,000lb or so into orbit; there are only a couple: Saturn V, Energia, and the shuttle (remember, the orbiter goes into orbit too, plus whatever it's carrying).

            Well there is that Saturn V on the lawn somewhere. Houston I think.

            • by vought (160908)

              Well there is that Saturn V on the lawn somewhere. Houston I think.

              One in Houston, two in Huntsville.

          • by djupedal (584558)
            > So you're looking for a launcher that can put 200,000lb or so into orbit

            A bare Shuttle weighs 230,000 lbs - add in a 50,000 lb payload and the entire package comes in at 280,000 lbs.

            Saturn V payload is too low at 260,000 lbs. Energia lifts even less.
          • by dgatwood (11270)

            Yes, but part of that weight is used for things like engines that you'd strip out if it were on top of a stack. The engines are about 20,000 lbs of that. Also 180k estimate is a little high; the heaviest orbiter was Columbia at about 178k with engines; Challenger was about 175k, the rest are about 171k-172k. Without engines, the empty weight of the three remaining shuttles is only about 151000 lbs.

            That said, if those weight ratings are right, the Titan III can't even lift a full size cargo van into a rea

        • by iluvcapra (782887)
          Is that 4200 pounds to LEO or geostationary?
          • by djupedal (584558)
            >Is that 4200 pounds to LEO or geostationary?

            Payload to LEO: 3,600 kg
            Payload to 10,000 km sub-orbital trajectory: 3,700 kg
            Payload to Polar LEO: 2,177 kg Payload to Escape: 227 kg (500 lb)
    • by iamlucky13 (795185) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @08:22PM (#26153677)
      I can't find the original information, but I'm pretty sure the allocation of the shuttles won't be soley based on cash, but also on perceived value to the public for receiving one and consistency with the general mission of the museum. Keep in mind, the $42 million is supposedly for refurbishment for display, not to raise additional money. This first of all will mean cleaning up any potential hazards, like residues of hydrazine manuevering fuel. Of course, they get fairly weathered by each launch and re-entry, so there'll be some polishing to be done, and undoubtably ITAR-sensitive or high value equipment like the main engines will be removed and replaced with detailed replicas where applicable.

      There's three orbiters surviving (Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavor). I suspect Kennedy Space Center will keep one and house it near their Saturn V that's on display. This is consistent with another article [spaceref.com] that says two orbiters and six engine display kits will be made available according to the RFI. With public accessibility being a likely major consideration, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum is almost guaranteed one of the actual orbiters, to replace the Enterprise aerodynamic test vehicle which is currently housed there.

      That's going to make it a tough grab for the remaining orbiter. Because McMinneville is roughly an hour-long drive from the relatively small and aerospace-vacant city of Portland, I think their chances of getting an orbiter are relatively slim, even though they have a great facility and can probably afford it.

      The Intrepid Museum in New York Harbor is certainly prominent enough, but they would need to make a rather substantial addition to protect the shuttle from the elements. It probably wouldn't be possible to deliver it to the waterfront an SCA flight to New York, but if they wanted to put it on a barge like the Concorde they have on site, they may be able to float it straight up from Florida that way. I think they're also at a disadvantage because there will already probably be two shuttles on the East Coast (Florida and DC).

      I think Johnson Space Center in Houstan and Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville are the two most likely locations not on one of the major coasts. Both of them already host two of the three remaining Saturn V's (the third is at Kennedy). On the west coast, I think the lead option is Boeing's museum of flight, partially because of their accessibility and ability to host a space shuttle, but also because of their involvement with the shuttle program (although that is due to their acquisition of Rockwell).

      I would bet one of these three locations will get the third orbiter. That still leaves Enterprise after it leaves the Smithsonian, which only did glider and procedural tests, but would still be a major attraction. Maybe Evergreen has a chance at getting Enterprise, but I think more likely a second of the above three will get her. There is also a ground-test mockup called Pathfinder currently at MSFC in Huntsville that would likely get a new home if one of the orbiters went there, but it's only externally representative of the flight vehicles.

      A commenter on another site had a fantastic idea, in my opinion: before sending the last of the orbiters to a musuem, use the SCA to take it on a tour of the US. This would be a great opportunity for millions to see it and the modified 747 together.
      • by blincoln (592401)

        Don't forget the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. I imagine the Air Force has a lot of pull with NASA, and that museum has managed to score a *ton* of incredible pieces of aerospace history, including a huge number of one-of-a-kind vehicles. They've got the last Valkyrie, Boeing's Bird of Prey, the static test B-2 airframe, the YF-22 prototype, the "Streak Eagle" F-15, etc.

      • by afidel (530433)
        Although NASA split off from the Airforce a long time ago I think the Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson would be a good home. They have plenty of room, a fairly serious space collection (bigger than the Smithsonian's I believe), and are a mecca for airplane and space buffs.
  • Apple should buy it and put it on display at 1 Infinite Loop.
    They could paint it many colors with a dancing silhouette on the side
    and giant ugly white ear buds around the cockpit.

  • Do they take Paypal? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Voyager529 (1363959)
    ...and how much does it cost to ship it?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by BZWingZero (1119881)
      I know I shouldn't have, like any good /.er, but I read the article. The $42 million includes shipping from KSC to the airport nearest the purchasing museum. You still have to pay to get it from the airport to the display site.
    • From the article I think the estimate shipping at 6 million but that's included in the 42. I don't know if NASA will take paypal - but I am quite sure paypal would be happy to take your millions.

    • ...and how much does it cost to ship it?

      If you have to ask...
  • On the last mission, just land it at the new owners place.

    How hard could that possibly be?

    • by afidel (530433)
      That's to get rid of all the nasties onboard, primarily the hydrazine from the thrusters I would imagine though the asbestos in the caulk between the heat tiles might need to go too depending on its mobility (some aircraft have it pulled, some have it encased in place if it's not an exposure hazard).
  • Richard Branson can build you a space ship for less than that, he did it to win the X-Prize. Next I suppose he will be selling the space ships as part of the commercialization of space.

    Besides I found plans for building a model 30 TARDIS on the Internet, it will be a fun project. :)

    My Pirate Corsair crashed and burned, and it needs repair for the time drive and jump drive, but I think I can get the maneuver drives working for $3M. :)

  • by Shag (3737) on Wednesday December 17, 2008 @08:14PM (#26153613) Homepage

    Slashdot UIDs are somewhere over 1.27 million now... even if there are fewer than 500,000 active users, I'd chip in $100 toward buying a Space Shuttle...

  • I want one, please deposit your financial donations on the plate. If 41,999,999 people each give me one dollar... and I chip in the remainder...

  • As a child, I saw the landing pod from an Apollo mission at a museum. I got to climb inside, but I was severely disappointed: Everything had been welded in place and covered with layers of plastic and padding! I could not have been more disappointed or less inspired. Remove the batteries, toxic compounds, sure. Drain every last drop of fuel and other stored things, sure. Depressurize the tanks, of course. Even fill the hidden parts of the engine with inerts but for God's sake don't "safe" it until it's impo
    • Let the control column move! Let the switches switch! Will it really cost so much to replace the occasional switch and clean it out sometimes?

      And have a broken flight stick, etc every week. Not 'once in a while'. Once a week. Some kids are idiots, and will break stuff.
      • by systemeng (998953)
        Of course, there are a number of pc based simulators that will let you run the apollo flight computer software and enter the override sequence used to save one of the apollo missions from a malfunctioning abort switch. Kind of powerful to see ~40 year old software work
      • > Some kids are idiots, and will break stuff.

        Kids break stuff because they are kids, not because they are idiots.

  • It looks like the $42 million does not include the booster rockets that you need to actually launch the shuttle into orbit or higher.

    Which means that if you really wanted to buy it and fly it, you would end up spending quite a bit more.
  • What would that $50 M net you over the long term if you invested in, say, Virgin Galactic?

    Imagine what the STS would look like if Burt Rutan had designed it. First stage might have been fancloth and diamond straws, rather than Lego and fireworks. Hard to say what a fresh mind like that could do with a budget like NASA's.

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