Space Shuttle Contenders

Tulsa’s Air and Space Museum fits NASA’s basic requirements as a potential home for a retiring shuttle because of its educational mission and placement on a 10,000-foot runway, but there are also several strong contenders in the running.
And, there is reason to believe the selection process could turn political.
Tulsa’s response to NASA’s RFI was primed for the process, with letters of support from Oklahoma NASA astronauts John Herrington and William R. Pogue; V. Burns Hargis, president of Oklahoma State University, which has 37 years of experience in education partnerships with NASA; Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry; Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor; U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., and U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, MD, R-Okla.
Here is what the competition looks like:
National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio
Air Force Secretary Michael Donley was tapped to send the letter to the space agency in March making the request.
U.S. Congressman Michael R. Turner, acting on behalf of the Ohio Congressional Delegation, sent a letter to NASA, saying “The National Museum of the United States Air Force is the ideal facility to preserve the legacy of NASA’s Space Shuttle program.”
Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Three former KSC directors Jay Honeycutt, Jim Kennedy and Bob Crippen – the latter a former astronaut who piloted Columbia on its maiden voyage in 1981 – are involved in the bid to bring one of the birds to a final perch at KSC.
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, Ala.
Although the “Largest Space Museum in the World” has an orbiter mock-up named Pathfinder on display, we couldn’t find anything that said the center wanted a newly retired shuttle
Museum of Flight, Seattle
Just a blog reference at the seattlest.com: “King5 tells us that Seattle’s Museum of Flight … could be home to one of those shuttles in a year or two, and that, of course, would be downright really frickin’ cool. It has to go somewhere! Right? Why not here, near Boeing, which – as King5 pointedly clarifies – is a ‘major contractor’ for NASA?”
Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville, Ore.
The Web site www.ipmskalamazoo.org says the museum has a building ready to house a space collection: “Continuing with the shoot for the stars mind-set, the building has been built with the expectation of someday housing the Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise, which is currently on display at the National Air & Space Museum. It’s expected that when the shuttle fleet stands down from flying, one of the flight vehicles will be put in place at NASM’s Udvar-Hazy Center and the Enterprise will be sent to another museum. Evergreen is looking to be that museum.”



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