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NASA Transportation United States Science

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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  • Hot Properties (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StefanJ (88986) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:34PM (#31950530) Homepage Journal

    The Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinville, OR has a very nice collection of air and space exhibits. The "Spruce Goose," Howard Hughes' ill-fated wood composite transport plane, is on display there.

    When the museum built a new hall, they designed it to hold a shuttle. The space isn't quite empty, but you can tell they really have a hole to fill.

    I wonder what they'll do in what looks like the increasingly likely case that they won't get an orbiter? Maybe a Buran?

  • Old news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djupedal (584558) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @10:36PM (#31950552)
    Several cities and domestic air museums have already made their bids, etc. more than a year ago. From Disney to Evergreen, everyone wanted either an airframe or an engine. Evergreen had billboards up for more than a year that have been taken down long since.

    No one was interested when they saw the cost to transport, sanitize and decommission just one shuttle.

    So what's happening now? Lawmakers= lobbiests for the NYC tourism board begging with the expectation the tax payers will foot the bill? A shuttle wouldn't last one year exposed to the elements on the deck of the Intrepid Sea. Might as well put them on Antiques Roadshow.

    If anyone can afford it these days, it will be either Dubai or Shanghai.
  • If they set it up as well as they did the Concorde on the Pier next to the Intrepid. I was in NYC this summer and the Intrepid was one of the top highlights of the trip for me. I'll never get to fly on a Concorde - or a Space Shuttle - but at the Intrepid I could walk into and through one. While I couldn't sit in the all-first-class seating, I could at least see the inside in person. For me, that alone was worth the cost of admission. And if I could walk through a Space Shuttle, and see the controls and the loading bay, that would be worth twice that to me.

    The two are in the top echelon of most important aircraft of the latter half of the 20th century. I think it should be a no-brainer to put them in the same museum.

    And for those who haven't been there yet - the Concorde does not sit on the deck of the Intrepid, it is on the Pier next to it. I don't know if there is room on the Pier for a Space Shuttle, but I suspect the staff there would find room for something of that importance.
  • by goodmanj (234846) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:13PM (#31950844)

    If the goal is to make it last 500 years -- or even 100 -- it can't be outdoors, and you DEFINITELY won't be able to crawl around inside.

    It seems to me that the Intrepid museum is a very poor choice for museum-quality long-term preservation. It doesn't have any real indoor climate-controlled space, does it?

    Of the museums I've seen, the best choice I can think of would be the the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. The Chicago museum has more available indoor floorspace than any other museum of its kind I've seen. Just move one of their full-sized locomotives, or the 707, into the corner where the John Deere combines are.

  • by goodmanj (234846) on Thursday April 22, 2010 @11:25PM (#31950956)

    I agree that New York is a piss-poor choice: as I've posted elsewhere, the Intrepid is a lousy place to preserve historically-significant machinery. Outdoors in the salt air? No.

    No argument about the Smithsonian either: it's *the* federal museum.

    But I'm not sure about KSC and Space Center Houston. They've got a lot of great stuff, but I consider their mission to be primarily the business of spaceflight, with tourism and museum projects second. Also, I'd like to see key space artifacts spread around the country, both so they can inspire a wider range of people, and so that a really nasty hurricane can't wipe out *all* of our space artifacts in one go.

    Me, I'm voting for the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, which does a great job of preserving and displaying really big machinery, gets a *ton* of visitors, and could use a centerpiece like this.

  • Re:No... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by ProdigyPuNk (614140) on Friday April 23, 2010 @12:05AM (#31951272) Journal
    The shuttle program formed the basis of our endeavor with low earth orbit. LEO is of vast importance. Without the shuttle we wouldn't have near the experience that we do today with low earth orbit, and we wouldn't have the knowledge necessary to go towards the next step in space flight. While the shuttle program was not as earth-shattering as landing man on the moon, it is far from something that will be forgotten anytime soon.
  • Re:500 years? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quenda (644621) on Friday April 23, 2010 @03:28AM (#31952334)

    '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.'"

    That is just a knee-jerk reaction to what happened to the Russian space shuttle. After retirement (after one flight) it was stored in less-than-stable circumstances in Kazakhstan.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buran_(spacecraft)#Destruction [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.buran.ru/images/jpg/bbur89.jpg [buran.ru]

    BTW, the Russian shuttle was largely a copy of the US shuttle, except they added some safety features. When the Russians start making safety improvements to your design, you know you have a problem.

  • even if NYC were nuked, after they perfect the radiation eating nanobots in 2398, it will still be a nice place for a city, since most other coastal cities are built at river mouths on silt, and will mostly likely be sunk under water, or, if on the west coast, taking a ride to alaska on the san andreas fault express

    nyc is actually one of the best natural places to have a city in terms of seismic stability, metereological stability, geological strength, stable high quality aquifer, geographic strategical location (the hudson river->erie canal->great lakes), political stability, etc

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