Where the Shuttles will come to rest

By Phil Plait | April 13, 2011 12:00 pm

The other day I posted a link to pictures of the Space Shuttle Orbiter Discovery being cleaned and prepped after its final voyage, so that it can be sent to a museum for public display… and now we know where. NASA just announced where all the Orbiters will have their final wheels-down:

  • Enterprise will be at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City;
  • Discovery will end up at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia (it’s an annex for the National Air and Space Museum);
  • Endeavour will go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles;
  • and finally

  • Atlantis will be at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

I think these are good choices in general, though the Intrepid museum in NYC is a bit of a head-scratcher. It’s a floating museum on the aircraft carrier Intrepid, and it does have quite a collection of interesting displays including an A-12, the predecessor of the SR-71 Blackbird (you might remember seeing Will Smith golf off the Intrepid in the movie "I Am Legend"). And while the museum does get a lot of visitors, I’m wondering why the Johnson Space Center in Houston didn’t get an Orbiter. That seems like a more natural choice, especially given that three of the Orbiters wound up on the east coast.

Still and all, I’m glad NASA decided to send them to various places where people will get a chance to see them. I don’t get to DC very often, but next time I do I think I’ll make a side trip to Chantilly. I saw Discovery launch in 1997, headed for Hubble and carrying a camera I worked on. It’ll be nice — if bittersweet — to see it again.

Image credit: NASA

MORE ABOUT: Space Shuttle

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