Lawmakers demand answers from NASA

April 14, 2011 4:01:00 PM PDT
The decision has been made, but the tug of war over NASA's retired shuttles is far from over. Now lawmakers are getting in on the fight and demanding an explanation. Not only are lawmakers demanding an explanation, they're now threatening to use their pull in Congress to do something about it.

Texas legislators are calling for answers. They've formally asked NASA administrators to explain how Houston was left off the list of cities to receive a retired shuttle.

On a day when NASA honored Dr. Christopher Kraft, the first human space flight director...

"I pray that our nation will someday soon find the courage to accept the risk and challenge to finish the work that we started," said former NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz.

A day when the space agency renamed this the "Christopher C. Kraft, Jr. Mission Control Center," even Dr. Kraft talked of Houston not getting a retired shuttle.

"It's probably somewhat of a slap in the face that Houston didn't get one of the space shuttles, but in the big picture I don't think it's very significant," Dr. Kraft said.

Texas legislators do see it as significant. Representatives Ted Poe and Pete Olson wrote a letter demanding answers from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

"There's been no detail about the decision making process other than, 'You didn't get it,'" Olson explained. "We deserve an explanation more than that."

Just Tuesday Administrator Bolden announced that shuttles would go to Florida, New York , Washington, DC and Los Angeles. NASA said the decisions were made based on greatest potential for public exposure and educational use.

The letter calls for details: What factors were considered in choosing where the orbiters will be retired? Legislators ask for more specifics on why New York's Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum was chosen over Houston.

Poe said, "It'd be as logical as putting the Statue of Liberty in Omaha, as it is putting the shuttle in New York."

Legislators are waiting for a response from Administrator Bolden or NASA. They have not heard anything yet. When we called NASA today we were told they so far have no comment on the issue.
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If you would like to share your thoughts on the retiring shuttle fleet with NASA, you can contact them at:

    Public Communications Office
    NASA Headquarters
    Suite 5K39
    Washington, DC 20546-0001
    202-358-0001 (Office)
    202-358-4338 (Fax)
    Email: public-inquiries@hq.nasa.gov


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