With the NASA's Space Shuttle program coming to an end, on Tuesday NASA announced who would get the grounded fleet.
The three remaining flying Shuttles, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour, will respectively go to the Smithsonian in Washington DC, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and the California Space Science Center in Los Angeles. Here in New York, the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum will get Enterprise, the prototype Shuttle which did fly during testing, although never in space.
While NASA isn't charging the lucky winners for their Shuttles, there is a catch. Potential locations had to agree to spend an estimated $28.8 million to clean, transport, and create a dedicated building for their Shuttle, with the expectation that they would be kept in pristine condition. The Intrepid Museum says that's a good investment, and expects the Shuttle will draw an additional 300,000 visitors per year.
The choice of April 12 to make this announcement was no accident. The first orbital launch of the Shuttle program came 30 years ago on this date in 1981, and the very first manned journey into space, Vostok 1, was 50 years ago on April 12 1961.