New York may change shuttle display plans

Sept. 29, 2011 at 12:49 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- New York, awarded one of NASA's decommissioned space shuttles, may change its original plans for how and where to display it, officials said.

Rather than the announced spot for the Enterprise shuttle next to the aircraft carrier that is home to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, museum officials now say they are considering building a new space-themed museum on the other side of the busy West Side Highway from the newly revamped Intrepid pier.

The plan faces hurdles of property acquisition, zoning restrictions and most of all the task of raising the millions of dollars a purpose-built home for the Enterprise.

The uncertainty of the planning has angered other museums and cities that lobbied for one of the shuttles but were shut out of the awarding of the retired shuttles.

Houston, home of the Johnson Space Center, lost out in a decision that angered elected officials in Texas, and Rep. Ted Poe, a Republican, said the Intrepid museum's change in its plan for the Enterprise might be cause to revisit NASA's selection process.

"As far as I'm concerned, it won't be final until it's sitting up there on the Hudson River where it's supposed to finally be," he said in an interview with The New York Times Wednesday.

The Museum of Flight in Seattle spent $11 million to build a structure to house a shuttle, but its bid for a shuttle was unsuccessful.

NASA officials were aware of the changes in the Intrepid's plans but did not "foresee any issues that would prevent transferring Enterprise to Intrepid in 2012," agency spokesman Michael Curry said.

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