At a ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. disclosed where shuttles Discovery, Endeavor and Atlantis will be housed.
NASA said in a release Discovery, which made its final flight last month, will go to the Smithsonian for display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
Once it has Discover, the museum will no long need Enterprise, on display since 2004, and will send it to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City.
Enterprise was used for early glide tests but was never sent into orbit.
The Endeavour, now awaiting its final mission, will go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
The Atlantis, scheduled for its last launch in June, will go to the Kennedy Space Center visitor complex.
More than 20 institutions across the country had vied for one of the spacecraft, The New York Times reported.
Boosters of Houston were among those who failed to convince NASA officials their city was worthy to be a U.S. space shuttle's permanent home. Texas delegates had publicly lobbied for the shuttle to go to Houston, home of the Johnson Space Center and NASA's Mission Control Center, which manages all U.S. spaceflight operations, including U.S. portions of the International Space Station.
"No city in the world deserves an orbiter more than Houston, Texas," U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, had said at a news conference before NASA's announcement.
Other locations that sought a shuttle included the Tulsa (Okla.) Air and Space Museum, Chicago's Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum, the Museum of Flight near Seattle and the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.