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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 was shocked to hear that Dayton didn't get one and, was really looking forward to going and seeing the shuttle at the museum which I already visit frequently because there's just so many things to see there. I can understand one of the shuttles going to the west coast that way more people on that side of the country have a chance to see one. I don't get why New York got one because there only a few hours from the Smithsonian and New York didn't really contribute to the shuttle program like others. Houston does kind of deserve one but there so close to the Kennedy Space Center so I can kind of understand that its going to upset people no matter where they go but I think its disipointing that some 2-bit organizations got chossen over National Museum of the United States Air Force. Its too bad 2 of the shuttles exploded otherwise everyone would get one

Houston, We have a problem.

Don't worry Texas & Ohio California's broke and so is the City of Los Angels. The shuttle will spend a very short time in the state and than be off to a new home where responsible people can provide an honorable home for this magnificent ship. California has no idea what to do with the Shuttle, remember the Howard Hughes "Spruce Goose" Gone and this was its birth place. . .

This shuttle was built in Palmdale, it makes sense to have it here in California. Additionally they use to land out at Edwards as a kid living out that way I use to hear the boom when they would come in for landing. Southern California has such a rich history of Aerospace industry here I don’t think politics had much to do with deciding on LA for the Shuttle. I think Ohio and Texas are just sore losers and should be using their resources elsewhere. I don’t get why NY gets a shuttle??

The space shuttle was built here in Southern California. If that's not a reason to bring it back, I don't know what is. Sounds like these politicians cry foul only when the bureaucracy doesn't work for them. I am super excited to be finally able to see the shuttle.

Why would NASA put a Shuttle in their own backyard? The need to educate people on the value of NASA and the space programs it provides now and in the future needs to be expanded not kept to a local region or regions already sold on it's value...


I laugh when I hear politicians on the losing side cry politics when they don't get their way. It's pathetic. Of course everything is politics. Nobody in Washington or anywhere else does something just to be nice. It's about getting the best deal. It's about one hand washing the other, I'll wash your back, you wash mine, etc. Get over it guys. You played. You lost. Game over.

"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).

The home of all space flight is JPL, Pasadena, California.

These shuttles were designed and built here in Los Angeles.

How many shuttle landings in Texas? My brother helped build the shuttle's engines here, in California! My neighbor was involved in the avionics, in California! Both witness landings at Edwards AFB, in California!

This really shouldn't be looked at as anything to do with what any particular state deserves or doesn't. These amazing spacecraft are National Treasures, to be shared by the whole of our country. We're already going to have one stationed out in Florida, at Kennedy. It's just good sense to have another out here on the west coast. That will provide much greater access to people on both sides of the country.

It is not too difficult to imagine this orbiter ending up at the San Diego Air and Space Museum. Under the heading of tawdry politics, etc, now LA has another chip to throw on the pile in its effort to land a football team. Throw San Diego a bone and shazaam...the Chargers are on their way to LA, or Industry, or whatever.
i'm just sayin...

I am totally shocked. I guess certain cities shouldn't be too surprised, Seattle for example, but it is somewhat surprising that Texas was left out of the selection process. I mean... Texas! Most of us grew up associating Houston with space travel. I am sure that major metros like LA, NY and DC are where the international and domestic exposure to shuttles will be highest, but...leaving out Texas? Maybe they could build another one real fast and send it up and over to Houston before the posse heads off to the White House.

It would help if the people of Los Angles contacted their congressional and senatorial representatives and let them know the decision to send the shuttle to L.A. rather than Houston or the Air Force museum at Wright-Patterson AFB does not make any sense and is an insult to the people of both of the state of Texas and Ohio.

Wow politics plays a role in where something is going? That must be the first time it has happened.

I heard that it was going to be 5 years until its displayed here - that seems like a long time doesn't it?

Anne - The shuttles were built in California. We also had them landing here until NASA decided it was cheaper to land them in FL and not do the piggyback rides across the country. I went to see the refurbished shuttle at an open house event here in the Palmdale desert and watched it take off on the first leg of its journey back to FL.

Many of us have sat out in the desert, waiting for the arrival, waiting for the double BOOMs that preceded the landings. So yes, we have experienced the breath holding, waiting for and watching! In fact, many of us get giddy when we realize that FL is having bad weather and we may get to see one of the landings again!

As for the politicians whining like small children, they get paid to do that. I hope there isn't a congressional investigation, it's a further waste of money. For once, I'd like to see people stand by a decision and accept that they won't always personally win every battle.

It will be more accessible to a greater number of people in LA than Dayton. As far as Houston, they already have a bunch of space stuff sitting around. ALL TAXPAYERS footed the bill. It should be spread around the country and not concentrated in places like Houston.

As usual the Republicans claim political motivations. As usual they are wrong. The Shuttle was designed and built in the LA area by thousands of hard working people there. They should have a chance to exhibit it proudly, close to where it was born. Namely, Downey, Palmdale, LA.
NASA in case the R's haven't noticed, is not a political body, and this decision was not up for a vote. They should just shut up about it. Each location applied on its own merits and was judged on its own merits.
The Houston Space Flight Center is interesting. It has a Saturn V, and a lot of other important artifacts already. It is also a miserable steaming pit in the summer, and gets few visitors. The chosen locations are perfectly appropriate.

Parhaps Texas and Ohio are not used to sharing. Because we have Houston Control in Texas, we do not need to park a space craft there also, everyone knows already. Ohio has the Air fFrce museum already, no need for additional advertisment. Sharing with others is a mark of maturity.

Dear Texas-

We designed and built the shuttles right here in Southern California. We landed them here. They're in our blood and entwined with our history. Go pick on New York City.

I'm a Texan, and I have no problem with Los Angeles getting a shuttle. It makes sense to have one on the West Coast, and California has been involved with shuttle landings and defense contractors, not to mention the tourism. But New York when Washington, D.C. is just one quick train ride away? There are people that live in the D.C. area and commute daily to NYC! It's just ridiculous to have three on the East Coast, as if non-Coastal America is completely irrelevant.

To Fred Flinstone above, your statement is exactly why we need the shuttle in Houston or Ohio. If NY and LA are already teeming with tourists, that means they already have plenty of other things going for them. We don't need to "give more money to the rich" if you know what I mean.

Also, for people for who dismiss LBJ, please do not forget his role in continuing the Kennedy dream. Johnson is the one who made it possible to go forward with the space program as well as, more importantly, civil rights. Without his ability and determination, we would not be where we are today.

To Ohio: The Shuttle is not an Air Force craft, it is a civilian agency spacecraft. Putting one in an Air Force museum is to misplace it.

To Texas: Shut Up, you already have all of the Apollo rockets, which are just as spectacular. Let Southern California (which built a LOT of America's space parts, and still has a lot of Aerospace manufacturers in it) get in on the space-museum-piece action.

Why Los Angeles? After all we have the "Houston, we got a problem" not "Los Angeles, we got a problem!"

Beam me up Scotty, no intelligence down here (in Bolden's NASA) -

I can understand that Texas might think it deserves a Shuttle more than New York, based on its participation in the space program. But California? Excuse me, but the Southern California space industry built the program.

Houston, you have a problem.

Even the crybabies are bigger in Texas...

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