Congressman still fighting to bring space shuttle Enterprise to Houston

October 14, 2011 4:36:27 PM PDT
Houston was snubbed when it came to getting a retired space shuttle, but some are still not giving up the fight to bring an orbiter here.

Apparently when it comes to the final home of the space shuttle Enterprise, it's not over even after it's over. And one local Congressman is still fighting to bring a retired orbiter to Space Center Houston.

Long after the shuttle has flown its last flight, the debate over where to put the retired fleet is reignited.

Houston Congressman Pete Olson and 41 other members of Congress sent a letter to NASA, which questions the site selection process and contends that "the American taxpayers deserve to know the answer to the above questions before any further action is taken with respect to locating the shuttle Enterprise at the Intrepid Museum."

Those questions are why New York got a shuttle, and then instead of putting it at the end of a pier at a museum as proposed, the museum now wants to put it across a highway in a building not yet built, next to a pair of strip clubs.

"New York City has proven they don't deserve a space shuttle," Olson said.

We talked to Congressman Olson over a webcam on Friday from Washington.

"Clearly New York City doesn't cherish the space shuttle like Space Center Houston, Space City USA will. And I led an effort to make sure that NASA answers some questions about New York's bid," Olson said.

"I think it's an important letter and it sends a message. And let's hope that it gets their attention," said Bob Mitchell with the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership.

Mitchell was part of the team working to get a retired shuttle a permanent home at Space Center Houston.

"They continue to change the rules and it's sad. Are they going to change the rules again and let New York get away with continuing to keep one?" Mitchell said.

As the debate in Washington powers on, the Intrepid Museum is ignoring it, emailing us Friday, "We look forward to the Enterprise's arrival at the Intrepid, which will quickly become New York City's newest landmark and seen by millions of visitors to our great city. While we continue to be in the planning stages, we remain on track with both our logistics and our fundraising."

Houston isn't the only one still fighting.

Dayton, Ohio, another finalist site for the retired shuttles, is also fighting to get the Enterprise. Calling New York's winning bid a "bait and switch," Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown is calling on NASA and its administrator to reopen and reconsider its bidding process.

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