Congress, NASA, States

Florida rallies for jobs; New York’s very different shuttle fight

Hoping to raise awareness and attention to their concerns, Space Coast officials are planning an April 11 rally to protest the NASA budget proposal. Organizers are working with everyone from churches to businesses and hope to get 5,000 people to attend the event, scheduled for four days before the presidential space conference at the Kennedy Space Center. (Florida Today, in addition to reporting on the planned rally, is also encouraging people to attend through its editorial page.) Among those scheduled to attend is Florida Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, who has challenged President Obama to a debate on space issues. Good luck with that.

While some Florida legislators are seeking to extend the life of the shuttle, others in New York, including Democratic senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, are also interested in the shuttle. Not extending it, mind you, but securing an orbiter for the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City when the fleet is retired. Schumer tells the New York Daily News that he thinks the Intrepid’s bid is in “very, very good shape” after a meeting he had Wednesday with NASA administrator Charles Bolden.

However, not mentioned in the article is a provision tucked into legislation introduced earlier this month that could shortcircuit the bid by the Intrepid and many other cities seeking to land an orbiter, from Seattle to Tulsa. The “Human Space Flight Capability Assurance and Enhancement Act of 2010″ (S. 3068 and HR 4804) states that, once the shuttle fleet is decommissioned (several years later than planned), the orbiters would be awarded to institutions under a competitive process like the current one, but with “priority consideration given to eligible applicants meeting all conditions of that plan which would provide for the location, display, and maintenance of one Orbiter at or near the Johnson Space Center, in Houston, Texas, and one Orbiter at or near the Kennedy Space Center near Titusville, Florida.” With one orbiter already expected to go the National Air and Space Museum, that would shut out the Intrepid and anyone else.

9 comments to Florida rallies for jobs; New York’s very different shuttle fight

  • Wodun

    Why not park one in orbit and use it to repair satellites or some other innovative purpose?

  • It really just makes sense that an orbiter would be displayed at KSC and JSC. I hope that’s what happens. Enterprise (now at the Smithsonian) would make a great addition to the collection at Intrepid or another first rank museum in the country.

  • Major Tom

    It would be a little ironic if the final push to shut down the Shuttle program came from legislators who want orbiters in their districts to drive tourist revenue.


  • Bob Mahoney

    How about East Coast, West Coast, and middle of the country purely for accessibility reasons? That means (perhaps) NASM-Dulles, San Diego or Long Beach, and JSC (or Kansas). KSC can have Enterprise.


  • MrEarl

    You and I FINALLY agree on something. :-)

  • Downey Studios (formerly the North American Rockwell plant, where major components were built) might be a good venue.

  • anon

    Enterprise should go to Dryden, where it actually flew, parked next to its carrier aircraft. Downey studios would be good also, although rumor has it that Paul Allen wants to add Enterprise to his museum in Seattle.

  • NASA Fan

    I’d place one Orbiter on Pad 39, with the RSS rotated around it, with the payload bay doors open, with some mock payloads in there.

    I’d place the 2nd Orbiter in the OPF , with payload bay doors open, and some mock payload hung from the cranes in mid installation.

    I’d place the 3rd Orbiter in the VAB, on the back of the last ET.

    I’d shut down all these facilities for use by commercial crew Merchant 7 and open all the aforementioned venues to tourists.

    Perhaps in this small way, the state of Florida might see an uptick in toursit dollars. And in this way, someone other than the taxpayer can pay to maintain theses facilities,,,,becuase once Shuttle is shut down….who is going to pay to keep the viable?

  • brobof

    Wodun wrote @ March 25th, 2010 at 7:48 am
    “Why not park one in orbit and use it to repair satellites or some other innovative purpose?”
    Alas the Shuttle was not designed to last for more than three weeks in orbit! Thermal/ Power/ etc. Also critically the Thermal Protection System is vulnerable to orbital debris (MMOD) making any return moot. [See link below] Finally even assigned to a mothball orbit the *airframe* is an unnecessary mass that has to be lugged around using expensive propellants.
    After some thirty odd years of service, they are museum pieces…
    Retire the program with dignity.

    Hubble on the other hand…

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