If you thought the battle between museums over space shuttle ownership being over with had long since ended, you are sorely mistaken. Though NASA announced back in the spring which museums would receive the now-decommissioned space craft, and then offered a very thorough report back in August about how it came to pick which lucky museums would get one, late last week the fight revved back up again. The issue began with a story published in the NY Times about New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and how they’ve only just now begun trying to figure out where to house the shuttle. Their current concept involves creating a massive new building atop what’s currently a parking lot. The only catch is that they don’t own the lot, it isn’t zoned for museum use, and they haven’t designed plans for a building yet, nor have they started raising money for it. This has angered the already reportedly infuriated Texans who were one of the most vocal groups in vying to get a shuttle for the Johnson Space Center in Houston. That anger also looks to be transforming itself into action in trying to now convince NASA to scrap its plans to give the ship to the Intrepid and instead send it to Texas, where they feel it better belongs. The Houston Chronicle reports that a number of the state’s congressional representatives have grabbed hold of the issue, offering statements requesting that NASA reconsider their plans.
“It seems like New York has blown up the entire bid they used to get the space shuttle in the first place,” said Rep. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, whose district includes JSC. “NASA needs to put the brakes on this.”
…Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, spied fresh opportunity. “You work really hard on something and if you’re lucky you get a break,” said Green, dean of the Houston-area delegation. “These problems may be the break we need. It opens a window for us to take action.”
Thus far, NASA doesn’t appear to be budging, once again restating their belief that it’s best for the organization and for developing interest in space travel that the largest number of people see the shuttles, hence the New York location.