Houston, we have a problem. In a decision that was disappointing — if not surprising — Space City was bypassed as a destination for all of the soon-to-be-retired space shuttles.
On Tuesday, the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle program, NASA administrator Charles Bolden announced from Florida that Houston — despite being the home of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, which houses mission control and the astronaut training facilities — will not get any of the shuttles.
After having to sit through an announcement that included a long video on the history of the space program narrated by William Shatner and a live cut-in from the international space station, the news only got gloomy for Houston.
After a slow start to its own campaign, Houston got in the mix with a Bring the Shuttle Home rally in front of City Hall on April 6 which featured strong words of support from local politicians as well as the widows of astronauts who died in the Challenger and Columbia disasters.
But it turned out to make little difference.
"It's been a rough day," Bolden said in the middle of his announcement.
Not as rough as it's been for Houston.
"This is certainly disappointing, but not entirely unexpected as the Administration has been hinting that Houston would not be a winner in this political competition," Mayor Annise Parker said in a statement. "I am disappointed for Houston, the JSC family and the survivors of the Columbia and Challenger missions who paid the ultimate price for the advancement of space exploration.
"There was no other city with our history of human space flight or more deserving of a retiring orbiter. It is unfortunate that political calculations have prevailed in the final decision."