A mock make-up attempt? Spurned Space City to get full-scale space shuttlereplica in lieu of real thing
The original plans submitted to NASA to house Space Shuttle Enterprise at New York's Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum were recently scrapped for a new facility across the West Side Highway. By a strip club. (As CultureMap told you last week.)
Call us sore losers, but you have to admit that it seems a bit underhanded that the entire basis for the initial application — which included a statement of interest as well as a rendering of the intended facility — was completely thrown out.
However, Houstonians might be consoled by the fact that Johnson Space Center will be home to the Explorer, a full-scale space shuttle replica that is currently parked on cement pilings at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
As a replica, the Explorer has never actually been to space. To be fair, neither has the Enterprise.
As a replica, the Explorer has never actually been to space. To be fair, neither has the Enterprise (its construction rendered it incapable of space flight, though it did participate in operational testing).
What the Explorer shuttle lacks in historical importance, it makes up for in interactivity: Tourists visiting Houston will able to go inside the shuttle itself, unlike the legitimate shuttles slated for display in New York, Washington D. C., California and Florida. And though the interior details aren't completely accurate in the mock-up, the size and scale of the exterior is spot on.
Houston will also remain home to one of two existing crew compartment trainers, which was initially set to move to the Smithsonian. Space Center Houston's exhibits manager Paul Spana hopes that the white room and gantry from Launch Pad 39b will also be up for grabs.
"One thought, and I haven't discussed this with anyone, it might be nice to see the crew compartment trainer in the vertical position and have the white room and the gantry attached to it," Spana told collectSPACE.
There is no current timeline for the relocation and title transfer of the title for the Explorer, which will be removed from the Kennedy Visitors Complex to make room for Atlantis once the latter is fully decommissioned. That exhibition is expected to open in 2013.
Whatever the case, be prepared for a large scale shuttle shuffle over the next few years.