Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Shuttle Is Wanted in New York

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With millions of people visiting the Intrepid every single year, it stands to reason that this would be one of the most intuitive locations to house a space shuttle in. With the NASA orbiter program scheduled to be retired this September, or early next year, the three spacecraft that fly within it – Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavor – in addition to Enterprise, need to find a new home in US museums and exhibition centers. Many people in New York, and their elected officials, youth organizations and so on, are currently militating to have one of the three iconic symbols of American space exploration in their city.

The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is a complex located in Manhattan, and consists of the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier itself, a submarine and many airplanes as exhibits. There are numerous airplanes on the grounds, all of which had some historic relevance in the past. In addition to these, the now-grounded aircraft carrier also contains a NASA Aurora 7 capsule replica, and plans are to add a space shuttle to the list of exhibits from the American space agency as well.

“I can think of no better place to showcase the space program and America's innovation to the world than New York. As America's most cosmopolitan city, New York would be the perfect venue to display this iconic spacecraft,” stated New York City-based Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). On March 28, the museum received the visit of US senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who promised to do everything in their power to get one of three orbiters delivered to the Intrepid. In addition to these efforts, museum officials have also launched various campaigns to promote their case.

Online banners and on-site activities are meant to gather more public support for their initiative. Thus far, Space reports, the campaigners have gathered more than 25,000 signatures for this. “Locating a shuttle at the Intrepid has been called a 'no-brainer' – and we couldn't agree more. With millions of American and foreign tourists visiting New York City every year, putting a shuttle at the Intrepid would create an ideal platform to share our national pride in our space program with the entire world, pay tribute to the men and women who have played a role in our greatest technological achievement, and provide an opportunity to educate future generations on the exploration of space,” said in a statement Bill White, who is the president of the Intrepid museum.

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