NASA Names The Space Shuttle’s Final Resting Places
30 years ago today the Space Shuttle Columbia blasted off on the first shuttle mission. Two missions ultimately ended up in disaster, but the five shuttles spent a collective 1289 days in space over 132 missions. The program is set for retirement after Endeavor’s final voyage later this month, and so the three remaining shuttles along with the Enterprise prototype are going to need cozy homes.
Of course every museum around the US wants one, but there are only four shuttles to go around with one already designated for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The new homes are to cover the $28.8 million cost of prepping and transporting the massive shuttles, but those cost should be easily recovered with ticket sales. NASA’s been taking suitors for the last few months and used the historic anniversary to announce the winning locations.
Space Shuttle Discovery
Somber fact about the Discovery: After her final space mission this past March, she became the only Shuttle to survive her final launch and landing unlike both the Challenger and Columbia. Now she’s going to end up at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum to replace the Enterprise prototype.
Space Shuttle Atlantis
The Atlantis first took off from Kennedy Space Center in April of 1985 and flew for the final time on May 14, 2010. She logged 120 million miles over 32 missions and will stay in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center after NASA removes all the dangerous fluids and equipment.
Space Shuttle Endeavor
Save a disaster, the youngest Space Shuttle Endeavor is on her way to the California Science Center in Los Angeles after flying the final Space Shuttle mission later this month.
The Enterprise is to be moved from its current home in the Smithsonian to the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum on the West Side of Manhattan. While it never actually reached outer space, the Enterprise conducted upper atmosphere test flights and actually flew over New York City in 1983. Likewise, NYC never had a major historical claim to the Shuttle like several other vying locations, but the 1943 warship museum does pull close to a million visitors a year.