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Bolden to announce fate of shuttles

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden says he will decide by this spring where the agency's three shuttle orbiters will be housed in their retirement.

Bolden says he will decide where to place Atlantis and Endeavour, while the shuttle Discovery likely is headed to the Smithsonian Institution's Air and Space Museum, Florida Today reported Friday.

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The Boeing Co. is donating $5 million to the Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio, that a senator hopes will help it acquire one of the retired shuttle orbiters.

"Boeing's generous donation marks more good news for bringing the shuttle to the Miami Valley," Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said. "I will continue to work with the Ohio congressional delegation on a bipartisan basis to bring the shuttle to its most suitable home: the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson (Air Force Base)."

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said he is still pushing for the Kennedy Space Center to retain an orbiter.

"Don't worry about all this Ohio stuff," Nelson said. "Remember, the last shuttle flight is much later this year. Then, they've got to go through all the stuff to prepare the orbiters for the museum. We've got plenty of time."

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Bolden, in the meantime, did have some good news for Florida's Space Coast.

He planned to formally announce "within the next few weeks, if not days" that Kennedy Space Center would be the home of the NASA office that oversees the development and operation of commercial space taxis, he said.

That work historically has been done at Johnson Space Center in Houston or NASA headquarters in Washington, Florida Today said.

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