Houston Gets No Space Shuttle: See What Happens When You Don't Have a Texan in the White House?

Categories: NASA

Cue the loser horn:

Houston is not getting one of the retiring Space Shuttles, according to every media report out there. It's not even getting a shuttle that never went to space.

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.

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81 comments
Jackmeoff
Jackmeoff

The first word spoken from space was HOUSTON, not los angeles......

Milquetoast
Milquetoast

I am so Goddamned furious at you in Houston labeling Los Angeles' California Science Center as "the biggest surprise" in this whole thing- especially with New York having so much to do with space! Silently switching your battle from New York's Intrepid and attacking L. A. simply because you want space cred with Endeavor and not Enterprise? I did feel horribly that another city had to be belittled at the hands of New York yet again, but now you've gone too far in attacking us, the city with the storied aviation and space development history- from The Skunkworks to Palmdale! Los Angeles developed and built and tested these shuttles at the dry lake bed at Edwards on land that the City owns! If we didn't build the damned things in the first place you wouldn't have anything to squabble over! Your battle is with New York and their prototype. We in Los Angeles want to see, up close, the fruits of OUR OWN LABOR! Now, "F" OFF!

Jmsmtchll65
Jmsmtchll65

Al I have to say is this, "Did Jim Lovell say ' Seattle, we have a problem.' , or did Neil Armstrong say ' New York, the eagle has landed.'?" No, the first word spoken from the surface of the moon (THE MOON people) was Houston, and Commander Lovell called upon the people in Houston to help him and his crew get back home. Furthermore, the astronauts who gave their lives for the space program called Houston home, as do most of their widows and widowers still to this day.

Jason Apperson
Jason Apperson

LA doesn't just add geographical balance. Most of the testing and R&D for the space program, and the shuttle program took place in California. We Californians also built the space shuttle. Maybe nobody in Houston has ever heard of Edwards AFB. Houston, I'm sorry for your loss, really, but pick on New York. They did nothing to deserve it. Oh, and California didn't get a space shuttle because it guarantees Obama reelection. Much to my chagrin, the state votes overwhelmingly democratic anyway. California deserves a Shuttle as much as Houston and Cape Canaveral. We've got the ONLY alternative Launch Pad in existence at Vandenberg Air force base, and the shuttle has sought safe haven from the terrible southeastern weather from our always sunny skies over Edwards Air Force Base.

DB
DB

The shuttles cant "Come home to Houston" if they have never been there.

Whizkid
Whizkid

Read Wayne Hale's blog to find out why Houston was passed over

Aerodrury
Aerodrury

Politics aside, it makes more sense for JSC to be the recipient of one of the flown shuttles. A museum in Houston will make more money than the other locations. Friends and family of those associated with the space program will most likely be your recurring patrons. Not to mention the number of people in the city of Houston itself. I worked on Constellation as a contractor, and I can tell you first hand that the men and women who have invested their lives in the shuttle program are more like a family. They have a vested interest in having a shuttle. They have earned it through decades of dedication and sacrifice. New York and Los Angeles...come on. This is a vindictive slap in the face to the thousands of engineers, technicians, support staff, etc. This decision goes beyond politics...it's mean-spirited. Charlie Bolden and Lori Garver should know better...especially Charlie being a shuttle veteran.

ThurstonH3
ThurstonH3

Who cares? We're talking about a museum piece. If there is real value to landing the shuttle here, it's this: our kids might be interested in the technology that went into this amazing achievement, then learn more about it and aspire towards something equally great.

Yet, TEXAS is cutting public education funding, because we choose not raise taxes on the richest among us. Not only are teachers being laid-off, the field trips to see this kind of thing are being cut.

So, this is a tempest that's blowing over more important territory. So sad we get upset over symbolic issues like a shuttle versus what really matters for our future: education.

Sara
Sara

Remember the CHALLENGER? The space shuttle that exploded? The astronauts were residents of Houston and you don’t want to honor their memory and families by giving Houston the space shuttle. No instead you give New York City and California the space shuttles. I want to know which states were in involved this decision. We have been here for the space shuttle program from the beginning to end, through ups and downs. Doesn’t “Houston we have a problem” ring a bell? We should get the shuttle, not California what did it ever do for the program. I can understand why they picked Kennedy Space Center and The Smithsonian, but why California and New York. What did they do? Why should they get it?Sara

truthseeker
truthseeker

NY, LA, KSC, and DC all have one thing that Houston lacks - hordes and hordes of tourists. That was the #1 reason for the choices.

Robert Haltom
Robert Haltom

How did California get one? I thought the shuttle didn't meet their "clean air" standards and wasn't fuel effecient enough. You can't even buy many small engines (like some lawn mowers) in CA, but they get a shuttle that can burn over 500,000gal of fuel in a matter of minuets.Talk about hypocrisy at it's finest.

Barryhn
Barryhn

Why does it seem like Mayor Parker continues to get free passes when her administration blunders?

Continental Airlines leaving for Chicago? Sorry but there was nothing we could do..

Selling the Compaq Center for $7MM? Sorry but we have budget shortfalls and had to do something...

Cancelling the Tour de Houston at the last minute? Sorry but we couldn't find a title sponsor..

A space shuttle? Sorry but that's politics..

While I know these can be argued in her favor, that's not the point. Rather than be pro-active for our City's long term growth, it's almost like they feel entitled without doing any real work. Maybe I'm wrong and they've gone over and beyond what we expect from our elected officials. However, off the top of my head, I can't think of anything.

madinhouston
madinhouston

NY??? What the hey??? Get a rope!! The shuttles usually land in/around Lancaster CA, The Smithsonian is the Smithsonian, and they usually launch from Kennedy..... but what the heck does New York have to do with anything??? Houston should have gotten the last one!!! Idiot politicians... all of them.

BlueTexas2k
BlueTexas2k

The Johnson Space Center is the home of the Shuttle program. It was dreamed up, designed, and run from Houston. All of the astronauts in the Challenger and Discovery accidents were residents of Houston. Most of their widows/widowers are still in Houston and begged for a shuttle to be placed there.To add insult to injury, the full sized fuselage mock-up in Houston that every shuttle astronaut has trained in is being removed from Houston and given to a museum in Seattle.But it is just great that people in Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey can choose to either go North or South for a couple of hours and run into a shuttle.

BlueTexas2k
BlueTexas2k

The Johnson Space Center is the home of the Shuttle program. It was dreamed up, designed, and run from Houston. All of the astronauts in the Challenger and Discovery accidents were residents of Houston. Most of their widows/widowers are still in Houston and begged for a shuttle to be placed there.To add insult to injury, the full sized fuselage mock-up in Houston that every shuttle astronaut has trained in is being removed from Houston and given to a museum in Seattle.But it is just great that people in Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey can choose to either go North or South for a couple of hours and run into a shuttle.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech...

Silly People
Silly People

You do realize that there is a president from Illinois in the white house correct? So if that was a concern of NASAs to appease the current president of locating a shuttle, one would have been put in the Adler Planetarium. Silly People

Giovanni
Giovanni

Fuck 'em, shuttle Columbia chose to bless Texas as it's final resting place, & that's enough shuttle for me. More than one shuttle in Texas would be greedy.

Ewre
Ewre

Not having a Texan in the White House means we don't get deeply overextended in pointless wars. LBJ in Vietnam, Bush II in Iraq. I'm good with that.

H_e_x
H_e_x

We deserved it, hands down. Ohio doesn't deserve a damn thing. Depressing state with depressing people.

Dr Atomic
Dr Atomic

Texas has gotten the shaft at every turn from this administration.Lesson: Never EVER vote for a President from Chicago again! ( even this one for term two!)

csoakley
csoakley

Hey guys, it's not like we're getting nothing out of this deal. We are getting a pilot's chair!! And a co-pilot's chair too!! New York and California are each only getting ONE shuttle but we get TWO chairs!!!

Roycemcmahan
Roycemcmahan

if bolden did'nt have his nose so far up obamas butt we might have gotten one!!!

Douglas
Douglas

Hey, remember, t'was politics that landed the JSC in Texas to begin with! Talk about short memories! Does it make any sense that the space missions should launch in Florida yet be controlled in Houston? Of course not. You have LBJ's political prowess to thank for that. And second, this decision apparently was not political. Lots of people are somehow blaming Obama and saying this was political and if a Texan was president yada yada yada. If this was political then certainly New York and California would not have received a shuttle. Obama doesn't need to ply those states with space ships to win their support in the next election. If someone was interested in votes, they would have landed a shuttle at the gigantic and excellent and free Museum of the United States Air Force in Ohio, the perpetually cursed swing state.

Yadayada
Yadayada

No...you F off !!!!  Mission Control is here in Houston.  You guys may have built it, but we designed it and managed it from here.   So get over it, Houston deserves a shuttle.

antiM
antiM

agreed! folks should check it out.

Redguy7
Redguy7

As a native Houstonian with a friend who piloted/commanded three shuttle flights, I agree with Aerodrury that all these local folks are our [collective] "family".

I'm disgusted that New York - a place having NOTHING synonymous with NASA, the manned spaceflight program or the shuttle program - is deemed a more-appropriate display place for a shuttle than Houston.

Given California's connections to space flight, however, I have to say that I can see merit in giving LA a shuttle. Yeah, I know Endeavor will probably be Disney-fied in LA, but anything related to Endeavor's display will have significantly greater relevance than anything anybody can do to "connect" NYC with Enterprise.

Yadayada
Yadayada

Instead of raising the taxes on the rich, why don't you go after the 42% of people in this state that don't pay taxes at all !   Stop drinking the Obama Kool Aid !!!!!

Jason Apperson
Jason Apperson

California built the shuttles. We tested them. We have the only other launch facility for the shuttles, and we've let them fly through our beautiful blue skies and land at Edwards AFB many times. I'd venture to say we've done a thing or two to be involved in the Space Shuttle Program.

csoakley
csoakley

I guess that's a good enough criteria. But I don't understand why they designated the Dr. M.L. King Memorial District in Atlanta instead of LA. LA gets many more tourists than Atlanta does.

Ducky Boy
Ducky Boy

Texans sure do use the word idiot a lot. What's up with that. Know one or two?

DUcky Boy
DUcky Boy

Texas. The unplesant place. Sucks road apples. Go what Fox news and play with a cow patty.

Ducky boy
Ducky boy

Texas oxymoron: A black in the White House.

Douglas
Douglas

Hey there H_e_x. Did you hear the news? Ohio didn't get a shuttle.

Tsal75
Tsal75

Um, Texas did NOT vote for a president from Chicago. And this is the price you pay. If Texas had voted for Obama, maybe you'd have a shuttle.

Blt
Blt

Chicago style politics. Texas Dems who gave massive amounts of $ to Obama should remind him of that between now and 2012. Seriously, he got huge $ from Texas in 2008 even if he didn't get many votes.

And it is true, Houston got two chairs. Seattle already has a building-they got the full size simulator. Chicago, Oregon and the A&M Aerospace Department got other simulators (so Texas didn't totally get shut out). Dayton got the crew compartment trainer and nosecap assembly (whatever that is). Huntsville AL got engines as did the Smithsonian and also the Oregon museum. So the key NW states got two simulators and an engine and Houston got 2 chairs and a simulator 90 miles away. Obama's hometown of Chicago got the simulator while the Air Force backed Dayton museum didn't.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Same could be said about presidents from Texas. Or any other state. All the same bullshit.

Missy9383
Missy9383

You must not know too much about JSC or KSC and the command centers and how/why the land was donated...

Me
Me

"If this was political then certainly New York and California would not have received a shuttle. Obama doesn't need to ply those states with space ships to win their support in the next election."

uhhh.... haven't you heard of rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies? It's the essence of crony politics.

Craig
Craig

Of course it makes sense to have flights controlled from a remote location. It's two entirely different skill sets for one thing.

But in the event of an accident or attack the space ship could take out mission control, too.

Pretty much the same reason you don't locate your data center in your company's building.

Remote locations provide an extra layer of security.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Honest question: Why are you being a smarmy little asshole in all of these comments?

madinhouston
madinhouston

We know a lot of words, but like to keep it simple for those out there who don't.

H_e_x
H_e_x

I know that, but thanks for pointing it out again.

Maggie_may
Maggie_may

Houston & most of our state's metropolitan areas went for Obama. But the fearful suburbanites & the rural yahoos carried the day....

csoakley
csoakley

Ummm...you know the two chairs comment was being sarcastic, right? This announcement is the scientific equivalent of "I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen."

Cabanillas
Cabanillas

Crony politics? We built the damned things in LA. I agree Houston got jobbed, but for one of the 4 not to land in LA would have been a travesty.

Douglas
Douglas

Fine. Good points. But JSC could have been located in Alabama or Georgia or Michigan. No. Not Michigan. But LBJ's state happened to be Texas.

ducky boy
ducky boy

It'sssssssssss true. There is also a correlation in the number of trailer parks and GOP voters.

blt
blt

Yes, csoakley. The two chairs is very much an "in your face" comment. Things that are already in Houston are getting moved out at great cost. No doubt, this was straight from the White House.

csoakley
csoakley

@Brittanie: Too late. I've loaded the boombox in the Malibu and I'm headed to D.C.

csoakley
csoakley

@Blt.Yes. I know we got two chairs. The point I was making was that Houston is the home of the manned spaceflight program, Mission Control, home to all of the astronauts and thousands of people who have worked on the Shuttle programs for years (if not decades). When there was a Shuttle disaster the sitting President came here to give the tribute (twice). It is for all intents and purposes the "home" of the Shuttle program. Taking into consideration all of those facts and the best we are deemed worthy of is a COUPLE OF FUCKING CHAIRS and you don't find that to be a bit of an insult, I question your judgement.

blt
blt

There was an article saying JSC got the pilot and command chairs. That was not a joke. Same article where I got the rest of the info.

Tsal75
Tsal75

The human space flight program should have remained at Langley in Virginia, where it was born.

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