Museums scramble for retiring space shuttles

NASA has set the date for the last Space Shuttle launch at February 26, 2011, and as an era comes to a close, museums around the country are fighting to get their hands on one of the retiring vessels.

The Space Shuttle Discovery is earmarked for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. It has graciously agreed to give up the shuttle it already has–the Enterprise, which was used for testing but never flew into space. Besides the Enterprise, Shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour will also be available for museums.

The scramble for a Shuttle has not always been polite. A total of twenty-one institutions in almost as many states are competing for them, and Congressmen from Florida and Texas tried to get wording put in NASA’s latest funding bill that would give their states preferential treatment. The House Committee on Science and Technology rejected that move.

What museums do you think should get a shuttle? Give us your vote in the comments section!

Photo of the Space Shuttle Atlantis taken from above courtesy of NASA.