NASA Investigation Says Politics Did Not Taint Shuttle City Selection

When NASA announced earlier this year that Houston would not get one of the retired space shuttles — a lot of people cried foul. They believed that politics were involved in the decision to leave the Johnson Space Center without one of the orbiters, despite JSC's key role in every shuttle mission. But NASA's watchdog says the agency played by the book when it came to choosing where the shuttles would be parked for good.

Two of the losing cities, Houston, and Dayton, Ohio, asked for an investigation. 

In a report released today, NASA Inspector General Paul Martin declared there were no outside influences, including none from the White House.

He says it all came down to putting shuttles where the most people would see them. Also, the contenders had to show they were committed to raising money to maintain and house the shuttles.

The orbiters will be stationed near Washington D.C., LA, Cape Canaveral, and New York City.

The investigation did find a scoring mistake that would have tied Dayton with Cape Canaveral.  But NASA chief Charles Bolden says even if he'd been aware of the tie, Atlantis would have still gone to the Cape, because the Cape is a better fit for the agency's science education goals.

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David Pitman

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