Space Shuttle Coming To London?

M@
By M@ Last edited 110 months ago
Space Shuttle Coming To London?
endeavour on its way to London

The space shuttle Endeavour's final flight could be to South Kensington. NASA plans to sell off its aging orbiters after decommissioning the fleet in 2010. Today, London's Science Museum announced it would put in a bid.

The museum needs to raise £30 million to stand a chance of acquiring the space ship, and may launch a public appeal. The price is hardly out-of-this-world when compared to the £50 million the National Gallery needs just to retain one painting.

Endeavour first flew in 1992, replacing the Challenger space shuttle whose fate is etched in everyone's memory. It has since notched up 22 flights, including 9 to the International Space Station. Endeavour is favoured by the Science Museum over the other two orbiters (Discovery and Atlantis) as the ship is named after Captain Cook's famous British vessel with a pleasingly British spelling.

However, it seems unclear whether the museum is eligible to house the shuttle. Earlier reports suggested that only US institutions would be considered.

Image by the author NASA.

Last Updated 19 December 2008

RachelH

Oh wow. I'm seriously hyperventilating at the prospect.

cobo04

It would be fantastic if the SM actually managed to raise the funds to get the shuttle, but, where would they put it on display?

I've seen a shuttle up close and they are BIG. Does the museum have space (sic) for it to be on display or would they need to put is somewhere else?

M@

Me too, Rachel. Me too.

Cobo - there's definitely room in the Science Museum (say, in the gallery with Stevenson's Rocket), but they'd have to do some serious rearranging. And Lord knows how they'd get it in there in the first place. There's also an unused courtyard between the main SM and the Dana Centre that could be converted into a hanger with a little investment. Owning a space shuttle would be such a huge deal that they'd find room.

backin88

I hope NASA considers American institutions first. They are United States’ shuttles made by Americans.

M@

I'm sure they will. Indeed, some reports suggest that only US institutions can bid. But with two other orbiters up for grabs, maybe one could be sent overseas. NASA has sent its relics abroad before: the Science Museum contains the Apollo 10 Command Module, for example.

Lindsey

To be fair, the £50m isn't for just one painting but a step towards securing the entire Bridgewater Collection for the nation for a further 21 years.

M@

I don't want to be fair. I want a space shuttle.