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NASA decision to send space shuttle to L.A. is 'shameful,' 'tawdry politics,' critics say


Los Angeles' surprise win in its bid to house NASA's space shuttle Endeavour has sparked anger in Texas and Ohio, which were seen as favorites to land one of the three retiring spacecraft.

Texans couldn't understand how their state, home to NASA's Mission Control, could be passed over for a space shuttle. Nor could people in Ohio, site of the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

They called for a congressional investigation and charged that politics played a role in NASA's decision to send Endeavour to Los Angeles, Atlantis to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Discovery to the Smithsonian in northern Virginia. The shuttle prototype Enterprise will head to New York.

"It is unthinkable that the home of human space flight would not represent the ideal home for a retired orbiter," said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas). Houston Mayor Annise Parker said in a statement, "There was no other city with our history of human space flight or more deserving of a retiring orbiter. It is unfortunate that political calculations have prevailed in the final decision."

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) branded the decision "tawdry politics."

And Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), vowed, "The fight is not over.'' Brown, who sought to bring a shuttle to the National Air Force Museum at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, joined other members of Ohio's congressional delegation in calling for an investigation into the selection process.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden could face a tough time when he next appears before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics.

One of its members, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) called the decision "shameful."

"Houston is home to a generation of astronauts, scientists and engineers at the Johnson Space Center who have guided every shuttle mission and who have personally grieved the loss of friends and family who gave their lives in the name of space exploration," he said. "On this historic day their unmatched contributions are ignored in favor of two states, New York and California, whose investment in America's space program pales in comparison."


Los Angeles lands shuttle Endeavour

Space shuttle Endeavour coming to California Science Center

Endeavour could come to L.A. by year's end

-- Richard Simon in Washington

Photo: Space shuttle Endeavour prepares to touch down at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on July 31, 2009. NASA has announced that Endeavour will find a permanent home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Credit: Matt Stroshane / Getty Images

Comments () | Archives (180)

I'm a Democrat who supports our President, but I have to agree that this was purely a political decision; maybe not so much the decision to send a shuttle to California, as shuttles have a history of landing there, but deciding to send one to New York. New York, really? Why? I live down the street from JSC NASA, and I can tell you that this community lives and breathes the space program. Do people in New York (or California or Ohio, for that matter) hold their breath, waiting for and watching every launch and landing? Are the folks at Mission Control part of their day-to-day communities? Meet them in the grocery store, at church? Do they get community updates about what's going on day to day in the space program, or even care to? Space exploration is part of the heartbeat of this community, and to pass it over for a retired shuttle is indeed shameful.

Dear Texas, YOU HAVE NASA's Mission Control!

Where do you want to go for vacation kids? Huh - Houston, TX and Dayton, OH?? Not!!!

The shuttles were built in southern california. This is one of the biggest aerospace hubs in the country, and I'd argue that there are more people here who care about the shuttle than in Houston, where all you've got is a few nuts who think this deserves a congressional investigation. Really? Do you think that is worth the government's time?

Well, I guess Texas would recognize tawdry politics when they see it. The reason why the space center is in Houston as opposed to Florida is the strings pulled by LBJ. Probably the thing over which Texas is really upset is that they lost at their own game.

We made them all; why shouldn't we get at least one.

Considering they were all built in Downey and Palmdale, it makes sense that LA would get a space shuttle over Ohio. Not sure why NY gets one rather than Houston though.

Wasn't it politics that brought NASA's Mission Control Center to Texas in the first place?? Now all of a sudden Texas is crying foul? Pot calling the kettle black if you ask me.....

I beg to differ. Who paid for the shuttles? That's right. People in California and New York, where an outsized proportion of tax revenues come from. Sounds like Ohio and Texas have an outsized sense of entitlement to government benefits. Maybe they should work on that...

Were it not for the POLITICAL shenanigans of the then-vice president, Lynden Johnson, Houston would not even have been in the running, so if Houston wants to cry "foul", they should look at their own roots.

Shameful? I live in California, and have lived in Texas. When I hear these comments thing "Prideful" and not in a good way. I understand your connection with the space program. I just think that the space program needs a big boost in arm. California being the most populated state, and Los Angeles being the most populated city. I think NASA has chosen wisely investing in the future of interest of NASA

Tawdry politics? How about the thought that NASA chose locations with the greatest populations, and where the most people travel for vacation? It is fair to say that the choices may have been made beae on how many eyes would see them,

It was designed and built in California! What's the problem? NASA headquarters is in Texas only because LBJ used all his political clout to get it there. It should have been in Florida where all the space action takes place!

If it wasn't for us building those shuttles, they would have no need for a mission control in Houston in the first place. So they should be thanking us for that instead of complaining like kids. And what does the national museum of the US air force in Ohio have to do with space anyways? We have more rights than they do.

With any luck,they'll continue on with quest to separate from the union. JSC/Houston/TX have an inflated ego. KSC -LA-DC-NYC are places people actually want to travel to. All 4 have vital rolls in the space program and thir locations make the vehicles most accessible. The Intrepid ia the actual recovery vessel of the capsules and the shuttles need to be in places where they will inspire. JSC and Dayton inspire people to go elsewhere and fast.

I live in the LA area and I've got to agree with Texas. They've been there from the beginning.

he said. "On this historic day their unmatched contributions are ignored in favor of two states, New York and California, whose investment in America's space program pales in comparison."

I'd bet the majority of funds where federal so this has little meaning. I'm glad it's going to LA so I have a chance to visit it, but I think one should have gone to DC air and space museum.

So the politicians are complaining because their lack of political wrangling was unable to generate the results they wanted. They then cry foul at someone else for being political in nature. Oh the irony!

I am from Houston and I am Shocked, I was sure we get at least one.

Ohio has no basis for it's argument that this was political. The shuttles are not (or at least not supposed to be) military assets, hence no basis to have one at the Air Force Musuem. The Udvar-Hazy Center near D.C. is most likely the finest general aerospace museum in the US, and it is the mission of the Smithsonian to maintain the heritage and history of the United States's technical achievments. So this is location is very appropriate. And having Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is a no-brainer. Anyone who has an issue with that is surely playing political games.

Not so sure that the Intrepid Museum in NYC is the best place since the Udvar-Hazy center is only a 5 hour drive away. I'd have placed Enterprise in LA so people on the west coast could share in the history and Endeavour at Johnson Space Center where it belongs.

Sad we only have four available.

The shuttles will get more eyeballs in NY and LA than they would get in Houston. I can't believe they are resorting to lawsuits in order to make them less visible to the public. That is what is truly shameful.

...as if the original decision to put the Space Center in Houston wasn't based on shameful tawdry politics...

Texas, how about if we move the Space Center to California, and we send you the Endeavour as a lovely parting gift?

Will these south west cowboys stop crying? If they wanted it soo baaad they would have bided higher for the shuttle. LA is one of the biggest and busiest cities in America, what better place to have something special like that where thousands and thousands of people can appreciate it.
If i loose an auction on eBay i dont Email the seller tellikg him why i deserve the item more, cooome-onnn.

Wow…. It’s interesting how folks don’t remember the politics involved by certain Texans in getting NASA facilities initially even located there.

Lets see Texas and Ohio Republican states, California Democrat state. Doesn't take a scientist to figure out this one. By the way why is one going to New York. What does New York have to do with Space Flight? Just like most of politics in this country, this stinks. Another reason to fire every politician in this country and replace them with independents.

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