"This story originally appeared in the March 13 edition of the New York Post"
Send NYC a space shuttle
Last Updated: 4:25 AM, March 13, 2010
Posted: 12:36 AM, March 13, 2010
NASA is looking for new homes for three soon-to-be-decommissioned space shuttles. It would be crazy not to put one in New York.
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum has applied to house and display one of the spacecraft on Manhattan's West Side -- a spot that already boasts the World War II-era carrier USS Intrepid, a guided-missile submarine and a host of historic aircraft.
Why is it a perfect site?
Intrepid's connection with the US 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.
This afternoon, she hosts Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and other Space Age legends on their first stop back from visiting US troops overseas.
More important is that shuttles Endeavour, Atlantis and Discovery find homes where people will actually see them.
American space exploration has a far-from-certain future, now that President Obama has axed the shuttle's successor program, which aimed for a return to the Moon as a stepping stone to Mars.
Parking a shuttle mere blocks from Times Square can't help but keep space flight high in the public imagination. (The Intrepid Museum already boasts a million visitors a year.) Not to mention that scoring one of these birds would be a huge win for New York.
NASA's expected to make its decision in the next few months. New York's elected leaders -- especially powerbroker Sen. Chuck Schumer -- should step up and bring a shuttle home.