With NASA expected to make a decision in the coming months on where to house and permanently display three soon-to-be-decommissioned space shuttles, U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand stood at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on March 28 joined by NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta, Intrepid President Bill White and dozens of local school kids to announce that a growing petition campaign to land the space shuttle in New York City has already garnered 25,000 signatures.
The shuttle exhibit would provide new world class science education programs for children and raise student achievement in the sciences. The officials also announced that according to the Intrepid Museum, permanently showcasing the space shuttle at the Intrepid Museum would generate an estimated $71 million per year in direct spending for the City, and a total of $106 million per year in new economic activity for the City.
“I’ve received encouraging news that NASA could soon land a space shuttle in New York City,” Senator Gillibrand said. “This growing grass roots campaign shows New York City has the right stuff. No other city can display the magnificence of the space shuttle like New York. We are the top tourist destination in America and home to world-class museums that know how to make the most out of an exhibit. Our economy, our culture and our schoolchildren will all benefit from bringing the space shuttle to the heart of the Big Apple.”
“With NASA searching for a new home for three soon-to-be-retired space shuttles, I have no doubt that the perfect location for one of the shuttles is the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City,” said Senator Schumer. “Showcasing an authentic space shuttle will not only bring visitors by the millions, it will inspire countless people to learn, explore and dream of adventure. With 20 institutions across the country competing to receive one of the retired shuttles, we should all join the fight to bring a space shuttle to the greatest city in the world.”
“I can think of no better place to showcase the space program and America’s innovation to the world, than New York,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan). “As America’s most cosmopolitan city, New York would be the perfect venue to display this iconic space craft.”
“If NASA sends a space shuttle to New York City and the Intrepid Museum, it will not only attract more visitors and boost economic activity for the city, but also inspire young people and engage them to learn more about space travel and the sciences,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “I can’t think of a better city or a place to host such a marvel of mankind. We hope that NASA chooses Manhattan's West Side and the Intrepid to make a permanent home for a decommissioned space shuttle.”
“New York City will provide the best, new home for the space shuttle,” said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. “People from around the world come to New York City every year to experience our cultural attractions, eat in our restaurants and take in unique New York experiences. Creating a permanent home for this piece of American history at the Intrepid would be a boost to the City, and we believe will become an iconic attraction for visitors and New Yorkers.”
“Locating a shuttle at the Intrepid has been called a “no-brainer” – and we couldn’t agree more,” said Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum President Bill White. “With millions of American and foreign tourists visiting New York City every year, putting a shuttle at the Intrepid would create an ideal platform to share our national pride in our space program with the entire world, pay tribute to the men and women who have played a role in our greatest technological achievement, and provide an opportunity to educate future generations on the exploration of space.”
The Intrepid Air & Space Museum is one of twenty one applicants vying to acquire one of the three NASA space shuttles being retired. As one of America’s leading historic, cultural, and educational institutions the Intrepid Museum is uniquely qualified to house the shuttle when it is decommissioned. The location of the Intrepid Museum in New York City would allow over 50 million New Yorkers and visitors each year to see and learn an important part of history and technological achievement.
If the space shuttle is awarded to the Intrepid Museum, it would instantly become a greater iconic landmark and provide a major new tourism draw, generating an estimated $106.6 million in economic impact for New York City and help accelerate the West Side’s revitalization. The shuttle is proposed to be displayed in a glass enclosure on the city’s public Pier 86, that will house supporting exhibitry, potential classrooms and other amenities for visitors and students alike. Those without a museum ticket will have the opportunity to walk onto the public pier and view its fascinating exterior architecture.
The Intrepid Museum already draws almost 1 million visitors per year, 70% of whom come from outside of the New York City metropolitan area. After the Concorde was added to the Intrepid Museum in 2003, there was a 20% spike in attendance. Considering the outpouring of interest in bringing the space shuttle to New York, visitation is expected to balloon at an even larger rate.
According to the Intrepid Museum, the addition of the NASA space shuttle at the Intrepid Museum is expected to attract more than 366, 000 additional visitors to the West Side. This additional traffic would contribute to more than $71 million in direct economic spending by visitors and approximately $7.5 million in tax revenue to New York City. Additional revenue would be generated through spending at New York City’s restaurants, hotels, other cultural institutions, souvenirs and transportation usage.
The shuttle project would also be a new job creator. These include temporary jobs in architecture, engineering, construction and development. Permanent jobs will need to be added to run and maintain the shuttle exhibit in engineering, operations, maintenance, security, exhibitions, and education programming.
Bringing the space shuttle to the Intrepid Museum will also provide an unprecedented new educational opportunity for New York City students and tourists alike. It will be the source of an entirely new educational program that can easily and seamlessly be built upon the Intrepid’s already strong focus on the space portion of Intrepid’s history, and would expand the understanding of the depth and importance that space exploration has had for our entire nation.
The Intrepid's connection with the U.S. Space Program runs deep. The ship was tasked in the 1960s with retrieving astronauts from some of the first manned space flights when their capsules splashed down in the Pacific. In May 1962, the Intrepid served as a primary recovery vessel for the Mercury 7 space mission commanded by astronaut Scott Carpenter. In March of 1965, Intrepid helicopters pick up Gemini 3 astronauts John Young and Virgil “Gus” Grissom and recovered their two-person capsule nicknamed “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”
Moreover, the Intrepid Museum has the capacity to raise funds to complete significant capital projects and is well positioned to take on the costs of both moving the shuttle and building a structure for its display. The Intrepid Museum completed renovations to Pier 86 at a cost of $115 million and has recently raised another $120 million to build facilities for injured war veterans and their families.
The Intrepid Museum's grassroots campaign grows each day with New Yorkers and tourists from all over the world adding their names to the petition. The petition can be signed online at Shuttle2NYC.com or in-person at the museum.