Houston Lawmakers Threaten Legislation to Get Retired Shuttle
More than a dozen Texans in Congress are angry and threatening legislative action to block NASA’s planned transfer of a space shuttle orbiter from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Virginia to a museum in New York City.
Sixteen lawmakers, 15 Republicans and one Democrat, say they are shocked by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden’s decision to send four retired shuttle orbiters to locations other than Houston — the home of the Johnson Space Center, Mission Control and the astronaut corps.
The group has written Bolden asking him to explain why he’s awarding an unflown test shuttle — the Enterprise — to a museum in New York City.
The Enterprise will be moved to New York from its present home at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum outside Washington. The retired shuttle Discovery will be moved from Florida to Washington to take its place. The remaining two shuttles will go to the Kennedy Space Center and the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
The lawmakers are demanding to know why Bolden is ignoring the Johnson Space Center — the historic center for human spaceflight research and flight control for NASA for every human space mission since 1965.
The group says if they don’t get a rational explanation they will do everything in their power in Congress, including legislation, to prevent the transfer of Enterprise from Washington to New York.
Many Houston area civic and political leaders, including other members of Congress, say the decision was partisan politics through and through, and Houston never had a chance.