Monday, April 04, 2011

Houston Deserves a Space Shuttle for Display, Astronaut Spouses Say

The spouses of two astronauts who died in the space shuttle Columbia accident have joined Houston’s vociferous campaign to win a space shuttle for display once NASA retires the orbiter fleet this year. Houston, home of NASA's astronaut corps and shuttle mission control, is hoping to be among the few sites in the country awarded a shuttle for public display when the 30-year program comes to an end. Houston has stepped up its campaign recently as the competition has become increasingly fierce.

For its part, Space Center Houston has some grand plans in the works should it receive a shuttle. "We currently have a building, about 53,000 square feet, that would house the orbiter," Allen said. "The theme we're looking at for the exhibits is the human side of the orbiter, what the astronauts were able to accomplish." Allen's not being picky. He said any of NASA's orbiters Discovery, Endeavour or Atlantis — would be welcome in Houston."We think we could tell that story about any of the three vehicles," he said.The center receives about 750,000 visitors a year, he said, and has hosted almost 14 million people since it opened in 1992.

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