Reasons To Love Our New Shuttle
Jun 01, 2012 04:10AM
● By John Ennis
To celebrate, I’m sharing some reasons why we should be excited about the newest addition to Space Center Houston.
Receiving this shuttle will help ease the sting that the home where the shuttle was designed, its development managed, its crews trained, its flights controlled, and its lost crew members mourned, didn’t get one of the real shuttle orbiters.
According to Google Maps, the nearest "gentleman's club" to Space Center Houston is more than 10 miles, multiple municipalities and a county away. While the Shuttle Enterprise, which will be displayed on the flight deck of New York’s USS Intrepid this summer, will be moved off the aircraft carrier and into a glass-enclosed exhibition center on the other side of an eight-lane highway across from the Intrepid facing one strip club and next to another on land the museum doesn't yet own. The bait-and-switch for the selection proposals is bad enough, but more concerning is the proximity of strip clubs to New York’s shuttle, which should be treated as a school and educational destination for children like ours will be here.
Although the name of the replica will likely change following a naming contest by local school children, Explorer seems so appropriate. It is coming to the home of modern day explorers (the Astronauts). It will be able to inspire the millions of future explorers who visit Space Center Houston every year. But I’m also curious to see what names the children come up with. So it’s a win-win.
The shuttle arrival will offer an opportunity to take a self portrait of yourself in front of the shuttle and send it to U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (possibly with a special hand gesture or greeting).
If you have seen the TV interview last year of the Senator from New York gloating over securing the Enterprise while criticizing and taking some harsh and inaccurate shots at Houston, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t seen the interview, visit SCENElive.net and take a look.
On a more positive note: I love the fact that this shuttle is a gift from our friends at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida.
It was really inspiring watching the national news coverage of Discovery’s arrival in Washington D.C. and the Enterprise’s flight to New York, both riding piggyback on a 747. Those flights made for stellar photographs as the orbiters were ferried above landmarks including the U.S. Capitol and Statue of Liberty. But it just seems appropriate that our shuttle isn’t coming by air, but by water. (A major thanks to Houston-based Kirby Corporation, who picked up the Explorer and is towing it back to its new home on a barge.)
This is a high-fidelity replica of the space shuttle, built to scale using schematics, blueprints and archival documents provided by NASA and shuttle contractors. Unlike the actual orbiters which will only be viewed from a distance, visitors to Space Center Houston will get a superior shuttle experience, including entering the cockpit and more. An extensive upgrade is planned to get the interior up to accurate museum quality ensuring that Houston remains the top destination for tourists with an interest in manned space travel.
It's arrival today gives us a chance to show the world how much the shuttle program means to us and how proud we are to be the home of U.S. Manned Space Flight and Shuttle program. So make sure you take an opportunity to welcome the shuttle and participate in the Shuttlebration!
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Shuttlebration: Join us for this historic occasion as we welcome Space Center Houston's biggest addition ever, a full size shuttle replica. The replica will arrive by barge on the shores of Clear Lake on Friday, June 1. To celebrate its arrival, there will be a FREE street party at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) dock located at 3000 NASA Parkway on Clear Lake near the Hilton.
Friday, June 1: 2:00 PM Event Area Open to Public Transportation to and from JSC (parking at Gate 3) will begin. Street party area will include NASA space exploration exhibits, music and entertainment from 2 to 9pm.
3-5:00 PM Shuttle Replica Arrives at NASA Dock with Fire Boat Water Arch
4:30 PM Welcome Ceremony & T-38 Flyover
6:30 - 8:30PM Music: Max Q, Astronaut Band
9:00 PM Fireworks Display on Clear Lake
10:00 PM Final Tram to Parking Area
Saturday, June 2: The space shuttle replica will be loaded onto a mobile transfer vehicle for transport to SCH. The lakeside load-out will take a day. No public events planned for this day.
Sunday, June 3: 5:00 - 8:00 AM - Replica transported along NASA Parkway from JSC dock to Space Center Houston. NASA Parkway and NASA 1 Bypass will be closed from 5 AM - 9 AM
10:00 AM - 1:00 PM - Following the arrival, a free, family-oriented public celebration in the SCH parking lot, offering viewing opportunities of the replica, NASA space exploration exhibits, family activities and more.