For the past year, museums have been lobbying to become home to one of the decommissioned shuttles: Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavour — all of which have flown in space; and Enterprise, a full-scale, nearly flight-worthy model used for glide tests but never actually flown in space.
About a dozen major bidders waged aggressive campaigns to catch NASA’s eye. Locally, Kennedy Space Center and the Space Coast Office of Tourism launched their own campaigns, which included press kits, websites dedicated to keeping one of the shuttles here, online petitions and a $100 million dollar exhibit, which would center around the orbital.
On Tuesday, NASA chief Charles Bolden, announced its choices. Endeavour will go to the California Space Science Center in Los Angeles, California. Enterprise, which is currently housed at a Smithsonian annex in Chantilly, Va., will move to the Intrepid in New York City, NY. Discovery will take Enterprise’s place in Washington, DC and Kennedy Space Center in Florida will get Atlantis.
New York City’s Intrepid Museum, which jumped into contention early, estimated that a shuttle on-site would produce a bump of 300,000 extra visitors per year and $106 million bounty over the long term in ticket and merchandise sales.