UPDATE: And the Winners Are…

UPDATE: And the Winners Are…

UPDATE: Information from the media teleconference has been added.

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden announced today that the four remaining space shuttle orbiters would be retired to the following locations:

  • Enterprise (a test vehicle that never flew in space) to New York City’s Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
  • Endeavour to California Science Center in Los Angeles
  • Atlantis to Kennedy Space Center, FL
  • Discovery to the National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC

During a subsequent media teleconference, Olga Dominguez, NASA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Strategic Infrastructure, repeatedly stressed that the primary decision factors were to ensure the “best value to the American public.” She said that she was in charge of the process and Administrator Bolden accepted her recommendations, which were based on a process that complied with congressional requirements in the 2008 and 2010 NASA Authorization Acts. Making the orbiters accessible to the most people, domestic and international, was a key objective.

Ms. Dominquez was quizzed in particular by reporters from the center of the country as to why coastal locations were chosen. A Houston reporter stressed that Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States; a Chicago reporter that Chicago is the third largest city; and an Ohio reporter that her city is within a one-day’s drive of 61 percent of the American population. Ms. Rodriguez responded in turn that the objective was maximizing access to the most people and she wished there were more orbiters to allocate, but other significant shuttle artifacts would be allocated to museums across the country.

A Houston reporter asked what she would say to those who are calling for a congressional investigation into the selection process and Ms. Rodriguez reiterated that it was done in conformance with the law. In response to a different question, she said that she had been “isolated” from political pressure. Administrator Bolden dealt with all of that, she said.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Administrator Bolden would be on the teleconference.

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