Assuming that nothing else goes awry, America will have four Space Shuttles to mothball in 2010. Who will get them as tourist attractions? One will end up at the Smithsonian, one at the Kennedy Space Center, and probably one in some politically-powerful state like California or Texas. That leaves one for everyone else to scramble for. Where will it go? To the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Alabama? To the Kansas Cosmosphere?
According to an article in the McMinnville News-Register, the Shuttle could end up in McMinnville, Oregon, population 30,000. That’s because McMinnville just opened its Evergreen Space Museum, an identical twin to its 121,000-square-foot Aviation Museum, which is so vast that it houses the Spruce Goose, the World’s Largest Airplane. The relatively puny Space Shuttle would be no problem fitting into a garage like this.
But that may be too much of a good thing. The Spruce Goose is more than enough reason to visit McMinnville already, and the Shuttle would be lost among all the other hardware. NASA’s space surplus committee should give the Shuttle to a place where it really would look impressive — like the First Maple Syrup in Outer Space exhibit in Massachusetts.