Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Anyone want a Space Shuttle in their front yard?

It seems NASA is having trouble finding places willing to display its fleet of Space Shuttles after they're retired in the near future. It's put out a second press release, calling for interested parties to get in touch, and generously notifying them that the price per shuttle has dropped from $42 million to $28.8 million - a 31.5% 'discount'.

NASA originally announced:

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to obtain input from educational institutions, science museums, and other appropriate organizations about the community’s ability to acquire and publicly display the Space Shuttle Orbiters and Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) after conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program.

The RFI seeks input from educational institutions, science museums, and other appropriate organizations with experience in public display of space hardware and nationally-recognized historical artifacts. NASA will use information gained from this RFI to develop strategies for eventual placement of two Space Shuttle Orbiters and a minimum of six unassembled SSME display engine “kits.”

Sounds like a fun artefact to display in a major center . . . but it'll take a very large piece of ground, plus associated amenities like parking, a visitor center with restrooms, and so on, to do a Space Shuttle justice. I hope they find someplace suitable for each of them. It'd be a real shame to have them sit out in the desert at the Boneyard.



Don said...

I still think they should sell them to a private aerospace company (or UPS, for pete's sake!) to use for commercial space transport. A private concern could operate them much more efficiently. With off-the-shelf avionics and computer system upgrades (NASA is still flying 1970's and 80's computers!) those airframes could continue to fly for another 50 years. Considering that the shuttles are still the vehicles with the heaviest spacelift capacity, a company could corner the market and make a healthy profit using small (2-3 person) crews and simplified flight profiles.

It seems like a waste to stick them in a museum so soon.

Anonymous said...

I'd take an SSME fuel turbopump if I could get one.

Three feet long, a foot in diameter, transfers some 130000 horsepower.

Oh yes, I'll take one.