NASA Administrator Charles Bolden's decision about which cities would get a retired space shuttle was based on a flawed assessment of applications. NASA also ignored the intent of Congress to consider regional diversity when determining shuttle locations. Even more insulting to taxpayers is that having paid to build the shuttles, they will now be charged to see them at some sites.
New York, which received the decommissioned Enterprise space shuttle under the premise that it would house it in the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, now plans to build a separate museum for the Enterprise.
New York City is unprepared to house the Enterprise Shuttle while the National Museum of the USAF at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is the ideal location. Please help boost the Ohio economy!
Response to Petition
By David Weaver
Thank you to everyone who signed the petition asking the Administration to revisit the decision to place the retired space shuttle Enterprise in New York and to place it at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Ohio instead.
The Museum is a cherished destination celebrating the history of the U.S. Air Force, including its invaluable collaboration with NASA and its crucial role in the Space Shuttle Program. That's why the Museum will receive a space shuttle nose cap assembly and a crew compartment trainer, both important pieces of NASA's history.
NASA established and followed a process for deciding where to distribute the four shuttles in the orbiter fleet after the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program. The process included an assessment of criteria such as facility availability, transportation effort and risk, ability to meet delivery schedule, annual attendance, and regional population.
The four locations chosen by NASA as a result of this process were announced April 12, 2011. Shortly thereafter, NASA's independent Office of Inspector General (IG) conducted a thorough review of the process. On August 25, 2011, that office issued a special report (pdf) that found NASA's process "was consistent with applicable Federal law" and free of improper influence. Although the IG report also found that there were some discrepancies in NASA's scoring of the applications, the report concluded that they did not affect NASA's final decision.
NASA's plans to deliver Atlantis, Discovery, Endeavour, and Enterprise to their final locations remain on track. NASA transferred title of Endeavour to the California Science Center in October 2011 and the title and ownership of Enterprise to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York last month.
We wish there were more shuttles to go around but are excited that Americans will have a chance to see the orbiters up close in New York, California, Florida, and Washington, DC and learn more about their significant contribution to our Nation's space exploration history.
David Weaver is Associate Administrator for Communications at NASA