Houston Gets No Space Shuttle: See What Happens When You Don't Have a Texan in the White House?
Cue the loser horn:
Houston put on a furious last-minute push to land one of the orbiters, but the fact that it was a last-minute push probably hurt. Other, lesser-known locations (like, say, the National Museum of the United States Air Force) have been quietly but steadily working on this for a long time.
Houston may have been a little too cocky, assuming it deserved one of the prizes because -- objectively -- it does. But that's not how things work, especially when you no longer have a Texan in the White House.
Update: And the winners are....Biggest upset, perhaps, is the California Science Center getting the Endeavour. The Smithsonian gets Discovery, Kennedy Space Center gets Atlantis, and the Intrpeid Air & Sea Museum in New York gets the Enterprise.
"This is certainly disappointing, but not entirely unexpected as the Administration has been hinting that Houston would not be a winner in this political competition," Mayor Annise Parker said in an issued statement. "I am disappointed for Houston, the JSC family and the survivors of the Columbia and Challenger missions who paid the ultimate price for the advancement of space exploration. There was no other city with our history of human space flight or more deserving of a retiring orbiter. It is unfortunate that political calculations have prevailed in the final decision."
Further Update: The statement from relatives of the Columbia and Challenger crews:
We are heartbroken to learn of the decision that the Space Shuttle will not be allowed to return home to Houston. Home is where the heart is, and Houston has served as the heart of the space shuttle program since its inception nearly four decades ago. All the astronauts lost were Houston's residents. We again share a collective loss as a result of the political decision to send the space shuttle elsewhere. We had prayed that the incredible sacrifices this community has endured would have allowed the shuttle's legacy to continue here. Although we disagree with this decision, we will persevere in our support of space exploration, just as we have done in the past.