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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)

A political decision? How about the decision to send Enterprise to New York? Now that's a political decision. New York has had nothing, ever, to do with the shuttle program, and neither has Ohio. Los Angeles basically built the thing. I agree that Texas deserves something, but so does LA. Also--also--Texas already HAS a TON of spaceflight relics from Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and beyond.

why was ohio even being considered? yes, the air force museum is there but were the shuttles built in ohio? did they ever land there? were they ever launched from there? was ohio(or NY, for that matter) ever a part of the shuttle program, on the same scale as california? i'm glad to see one come to california, since, as mentioned, they were all built here. i never was able to attend a shuttle launch, it'll be nice to finally see an actual shuttle. but i would think that texas would at least get the enterprise, although texans shouldn't be whining about politics. i agree that it was definitely politics that brought mission control to houston.

WE Built them in Los Angeles. If anything Houston should get the shuttle that is going to New York.

Typical southern whiners and crybabies.

New York & California probably paid more taxes than Texas or Ohio. I think that's a pretty good qualifying factor.

Hello Houston?? We got a problem...

A congressional investigation?! Focus, people, there are much important matters at hand.

The purpose of the Space Shuttles is so people can view them and be inspired to participate in the space program.
Therefore, they should be distributed around the country, near to major population centres. And they are.
Live with it. It's not about you. It's about kids and grandkids going to see them and get inspired about space.

I didn't even know we were bidding on a shuttle to begin with.

Oh boo-hoo Texas and Ohio -- they already get plenty of earmarks from Congress (and they'll get plenty more).

Facts: NASA used metrics based on the ability to house a shuttle, ability to get the shuttle to a location (must be flown atop a 747), visitors to the museum and national exposure to decide where to send the fleet. Politics had nothing to do with it. More people will see these treasures in NY, DC, FL and CA then in Ohio and Texas. That's what matters. Period. It's America's space program, not Houstons.

It will be on display at the northern edge of South Central, where it can inspire hundreds of thousands of youngsters to look beyond their dreary or mundane situation. So many minorities/disadvantaged kids in that huge area will be able to tour this thing on a weekend if they so choose.

Really? How many times did a shuttle land in Texas or Ohio? Any of the complainers know how much of the US Space Program (and how much of Endeavor) was designed and built in California?

Bunch of wingnuts.

Space Shuttles: Designed & Built in DOWNEY, CA

Home of the Columbia Memorial Space Center

Nothing tawdry whatever about Southern California getting one. One should go there-- it's part of state heritage. The shuttle program was part of growing up in the 1980s. What kid whose parents worked at Rockwell or Douglas didn't have a model space shuttle to play with? It's a shame to see the program ended.

Um, it sounds as though the Texans themselves are engaging in politics to get their way.

Um, no politics here.The shuttle was designed and built in SoCal. Go laser yourselves.

Texans are weirdos. They just hate California for no apparent reasons. It's like they're little brothers who look up to their big brothers for any kind of comparison and with that comes jealousy.

Its simple, the Endeavour was built in Palmdale! I only wish it was put up here in Palmdale at the Blackbird Airpark with the other planes built here!

Why does Texas or Ohio ever think that they may be on par with California? Texas does have beautiful women, we see that when they move to California. You don't seem to mind when your greatest domestic product leaves for the Golden State. Ohio, okay I like Ohio more than Texas but honestly! Both places should be grateful for the billions of dollars that their elected leaders have sent their districts in pork-barrel projects centered on this very space program. You have already one - at the polls. This is where a "destination spot" takes over; neither of you will ever be a destination spot.

The chosen sites should have been CA, FL, and TX.

The shuttles were built in southern California.

The California museum gets more visitors annually than the others COMBINED.

Houston already has stuff (Apollo, mission control, etc).

L.A., Florida and D.C. make sense. New York and Ohio do not. The shuttle, while piloted by air force vets and occasionally used for secret payloads, was a civilian craft. Why they'd put one near the Intrepid or an air force base is beyond me.

Well you can't send these great American innovation to states that still teaches "creationism." That's a total blasphemy to scientist and engineers who actually worked their sweat and blood to came up with the package. Because if these shuttles end up in those 2 states, I'm sure memorial will read "God designed these shuttles through human minds and hands." Is that how you want your kids to grow up and learn?

how about politicians focus on fixing critical problems instead of pushing to spend more government money on an investigation on why they sent the shuttle to CA ??

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