Space shuttle Enterprise will touch down in New York City next year and make the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum its permanent home.
Enterprise, the first shuttle built, was awarded to the city Tuesday by NASA after a year-long lobbying effort by the museum and Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. The orbiter will be relocated from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, which will instead get shuttle Discovery, which was retired after its 39th mission in March.
Enterprise is expected to be a huge draw for the Intrepid museum, a retired aircraft carrier moored on Manhattan’s West Side. The museum will need to raise about $40 million to transport and house the shuttle, which is expected to be brought to New York on the back of an airplane.
In addition to the political lobbying, the Intrepid’s campaign for a shuttle included a request for proposals, a public relations push, and an online petition signed by more than 150,000 people.
“NASA understands that if you want millions of tourists to get a firsthand glimpse of an icon in American scientific achievement, New York is the place to do it,” Mr. Schumer said, in a statement.
NASA also announced Tuesday that shuttle Endeavour will go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles following its final flight at the end of the month, and that shuttle Atlantis, which will fly the last planned shuttle mission in June, will go on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex in Florida.
Houston, Seattle, Huntsville, Ala., and several other cities applied to become home to the retired shuttles but were denied. As consolation, they will get various shuttle artifacts.
“These choices provide the greatest number of people with the best opportunity to share in the history and accomplishments of NASA’s remarkable Space Shuttle Program,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “These facilities we’ve chosen have a noteworthy legacy of preserving space artifacts and providing outstanding access to U.S. and international visitors.”