NASA: Tulsa Misses Out On Landing A Space Shuttle

Tuesday, April 12th 2011, 11:49 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- NASA made it official, Tulsa is not getting a space shuttle. 

At a special ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle flight on April 12, 2011, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced the four winning facilities:

Tulsa's Air and Space Museum leaders had requested the Enterprise, the shuttle prototype, which never flew into space.

The Museum was ready to spend at least $28 million to display the shuttle. Museum officials say they're disappointed, but excited to get part of a shuttle.

"That's what we're getting is one of those nozzles, it's a giant piece of equipment, you could actually put a Volkswagen inside it's so large, and we'll kind of give people a size of scale of the space shuttle," said Jim Jones of the Tulsa Air & Space Museum.

Endeavour is being prepared for its final flight at the end of the month.

Atlantis will fly the last planned shuttle mission, in June.

"We want to thank all of the locations that expressed an interest in one of these national treasures," Bolden said. "This was a very difficult decision, but one that was made with the American public in mind. In the end, these choices provide the greatest number of people with the best opportunity to share in the history and accomplishments of NASA's remarkable Space Shuttle Program. These facilities we've chosen have a noteworthy legacy of preserving space artifacts and providing outstanding access to U.S. and international visitors."

NASA announced that hundreds of shuttle artifacts will be sent to museums and education institutions:

  • Shuttle simulators to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum of McMinnville, Oregon and Texas A&M's Aerospace Engineering Department
  • Full fuselage trainer for the Museum of Flight in Seattle
  • Nose cap assembly and crew compartment trainer for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio
  • Flight deck pilot and commander seats for NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston
  • Orbital maneuvering system engines for the U.S. Space and Rocket Center of Huntsville, Alabama; National Air and Space Museum in Washington; Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

A lot of Oklahomans feel a special attachment to the Enterprise because it came to Tulsa International for a brief visit, in August of 1979.

04/11/2011 Related Story: Tulsa To Learn Tuesday If It Will Land A Space Shuttle

In a statement Oklahoma Congressman John Sullivan said while he is disappointed by NASA's announcement, he will continue to work with NASA to obtain shuttle artifacts for the Tulsa Air and Space Museum:

"It is unfortunate that Tulsa came up short in our quest to land one of the decommissioned orbiters.  I want to thank Glenn Wright, Executive Director at Tulsa Air and Space Museum (TASM), for his steadfast efforts to restructure and revitalize TASMs ‘Land the Shuttle' campaign. Thanks to Glenn Wright, TASM has become a world-class facility that reflects Tulsa's rich aviation history, and that is something all Oklahomans can be proud of.  While I am disappointed in Administrator Bolden's decision,  I continue to believe that Tulsa is an ideal location to bring future NASA space artifacts, and I looking forward to working with both Director Wright and NASA officials to make that a reality." 

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe also expressed disappointment with NASA's announcement on Tuesday.

"The vastly imaginative minds that sent our nation into space failed to think outside the box with today's decision that appears grounded in politics," said Inhofe.  "I am extremely proud of the team at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum who put together a great plan.  The costs associated with the shuttle would have been steep, but ever since I was mayor, we have declared Tulsa the aviation capital, and this would have certainly enhanced that.  Tulsa's plan would have made the shuttle orbiter the centerpiece of an ambitious education effort for the entire central region of the United States.  Today's announcement is indeed disappointing."