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Lawmakers Want a Space Shuttle In New York City 246

Posted by timothy
from the eternal-city-or-500-years-whichever-comes-first dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Bloomberg reports that New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and a bipartisan delegation of 17 US representatives from New York and New Jersey have sent a letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden calling for the agency to place a shuttle aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. A former aircraft carrier, Intrepid served as one of NASA's recovery vehicles for early space flights. Intrepid officials have gathered almost 57,000 signatures on a petition to bring an orbiter to New York, and NASA is weighing 21 bids from visitors' centers, science museums and educational institutions eager to host one of the three aging space shuttles that will be retired this year. 'These are going to be like the Mona Lisa,' says space historian John Logsdon, referring to Leonardo da Vinci's iconic 1506 portrait of a woman in Florence that remains on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris. 'The primary criteria for the shuttles' location will be the stability of the site and whether the chosen institutions can exhibit them for the next 500 years.'"
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Lawmakers Want a Space Shuttle In New York City

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  • Ironic.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Halster (34667) <haldouglas&gmail,com> on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:39PM (#31950584) Homepage

    So it seems that the public and some elected representatives still have an enthusiasm for Space and NASA, even if legislators at the federal level don't.

    L8r.
     

  • No... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:47PM (#31950664)

    'These are going to be like the Mona Lisa,' says space historian John Logsdon

    Not really. Despite how much we like to think that we've advanced since 1969, we really haven't. I think the shuttle will be remembered like the Pentium 4, interesting, useful, but a technological dead end. Perhaps things would be different if America actually had a vision of space, but since the cold war ended we've had the worst of all worlds. Lack of willingness for the government to fund public spaceflights and lack of government cooperation for private spaceflight. Apollo will be remembered like the Mona Lisa, it was a large achievement in spaceflight. The shuttle? Unless something -major- comes out of the development of it, I think we will remember it more for Challenger and Columbia than anything else.

  • Re:Headline... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by beakerMeep (716990) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:51PM (#31950698)
    Headline provoked questions in your mind, you read on. I don't see the problem. Only thing a professional copy editor may have done is removed the word "a". Or, maybe something like NY Lawmakers vie for Space Shuttle.

    Headlines are often supposed to leave a bit of mystery. Whether you like that or not is up to you, but it's unlikely to ever change as long as there are headlines.
  • by SpudB0y (617458) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:52PM (#31950706)

    Why not put it somewhere that isn't nuclear terrorist target #1?

  • by ausoleil (322752) on Friday April 23, 2010 @12:09AM (#31950812) Homepage

    I really cannot think of why New York deserves one, the city made little to no real contribution to the Shuttle program. They are simply leveraging politics to get another tourist draw for nothing. That's not a good enough reason.

    Instead of making one of the retiring orbiters a political kewpie doll, they should instead go to the following cities:

    1) Kennedy Space Center.
    It's where the launches and a large number of landings occurred, and that puts the spacecraft into context -- especially because there's a restored Saturn V hanging in the Apollo Center, the VAB and the launch pads are there, and a visitor will be able to see the launch site...not to mention ongoing space activities, whatever they are.

    2) Houston
    For many of the same reasons as KSC, Houston deserves an orbiter because it was the site of the bulk of training facilities, because it is the ongoing center for American manned space operations and because it too has a restored Saturn V to complement the orbiter.

    3) The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum
    This is the final resting place for most all of America's flighted space hardware, and an orbiter simply must join Apollo 11's capsule, the Mercury capsules, along with the other important space and aerospace artifacts. Yes, the Smithsonian currently has a flight-test body, but it could give that up in exchange for an orbiter.

    Which in turn leads me to say that the Enterprise could go to New York, although I would prefer to see it go to the west coast to a museum there so that Shuttle hardware is located across the geography of the country.

  • by junglee_iitk (651040) on Friday April 23, 2010 @12:27AM (#31950964)

    These are going to be like the Mona Lisa,' says space historian John Logsdon, referring to Leonardo da Vinci's iconic 1506 portrait of a woman in Florence that remains on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris

    I'm glad he specified that. I wasn't sure what he was talking about with just a simple "Mona Lisa".

    Little known fact: the name of that "woman" is also - Mona Lisa. What are the chances!

  • Re:500 years? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Friday April 23, 2010 @12:45AM (#31951122)
    Yeah really, considering how long Canaveral had their Saturn V outside exposed to UV and Florida thunderstorms that's a bit presumptuous, the Saturn V was a MUCH more import vehicle and yet for ~40 years NASA themselves couldn't/wouldn't spend the money to preserve it to last even 100 years.
  • Re:No... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nmb3000 (741169) <nmb3000@that-google-mail-site.com> on Friday April 23, 2010 @01:20AM (#31951350) Homepage Journal

    I agree with you except for this:

    I think the shuttle will be remembered like the Pentium 4, interesting, useful, but a technological dead end.

    Except that when Intel dropped the P4 they had something much better to replace it with. It was a planned and thought-out transition. The shuttle? No better replacement, no real plan.

    I also don't see why you'd call the vehicle itself a dead end. Why can't the design be expanded and improved?

    I think a better comparison could be between the shuttle and the Pentium 3. It too was interesting and useful, but while it was phased out the architecture was later revived in a new and improved fashion. There's no need to completely scrap something which works well.

  • Re:500 years? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sznupi (719324) on Friday April 23, 2010 @07:27AM (#31953180) Homepage

    There is quite strong consensus that it wasn't a copy, but independetly developed counterpart - and given the requirements for comparable missions and technology available at the time, the shape of Shuttle & Buran was pretty much the only sensible one...

    Look at typical Airbus & Boeing aircraft. Or some biological examples [wikipedia.org]

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Friday April 23, 2010 @10:38AM (#31955180)

    Unless they are going to put the Shuttle Indoors, this is a horrible decision. If you're ever in NY go check out Cleopatra's Needle, which has been in Central park since 1881, but were built in ancient Egypt in around 1450 BC out of solid granite.

    According to the USGS [usgs.gov]:
    The surface of the stone is heavily weathered, nearly masking the rows of hieroglyphs engraved on all sides. Photographs taken near the time the obelisk was erected in the park show that the inscriptions were still quite legible. The stone had lain in the Egyptian desert for nearly 3000 years but undergone little weathering. In a little more than a century in the climate of New York City, pollution and acid rain have heavily pitted its surfaces.

    Good luck keeping the shuttle safe on an aircraft carrier, on the ocean from crumbling in a few years.

  • Re:No... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sznupi (719324) on Friday April 23, 2010 @10:52AM (#31955424) Homepage

    Shuttle can be considered a dead end because the characteristics profoundly influencing its design (ability to bring large cargo down, ability to return after few orbits to launching base, "reusability" of the EarthLEO vehicle) were found to be largely worthless. More efficient means for doing LEO while at the same time having a vehicle capable of beyond LEO operation is better (for the latter the Shuttle design is especially worthless; airframe characteristics even less useful)

    Pentium 3 (which never really died BTW, there was quite fluent transition from Tualatins (not directed at consumer market later on) to Pentium M) is an equivalent of Apollo or Soyuz; after a costly mistake you go back to what works (well, Soyuz perhaps also an ARM, doing its job reliably for many years with recent full realisation that it has future ahead ;) )

Philogyny recapitulates erogeny; erogeny recapitulates philogyny.

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