Debate Forum Topic: 4/19/11

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown Calls for Investigation of NASA Selection Process

Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Ohioans, and especially those of us in the Miami Valley, were disappointed to hear the decision announced last Tuesday by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Charles Bolden regarding the awarding of the four retiring space shuttles. The National United States Air Force Museum in Dayton was not awarded one of the four shuttles despite aggressive lobbying. Among the elected officials expressing disappointment was Ohio U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. Sen. Brown announced that he is asking the U.S. Government Accountability Office to investigate the process by which NASA decided to distribute four retired space shuttles to museums around the country.
Brown suggested that NASA had ignored the intent of Congress and the interests of taxpayers in reaching the decision to send the four shuttles to New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and to the Kennedy Space Center. Brown pointed out that NASA was directed to consider regional diversity when determining shuttle locations.
“Unfortunately, it looks like regional diversity amounts to which coast you are on, or which exit you use on I-95,” Brown said. Brown continued, “Ohio is home to the Wright Brothers, to John Glenn and Neil Armstrong, and to the National Air Force Museum. Locating the shuttle in Dayton would provide 60 percent of America’s population with access to the shuttle, within a day’s drive, and with no admission costs. The fight is not over, which is why I’m calling for a federal investigation into a flawed selection process.”

One Response to “Debate Forum Topic: 4/19/11” Subscribe

  1. Carri April 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    You’d be hard pressed to find a many NASA fans more enthusiastic than I about the notion of bringing a shuttle to Dayton. I’ve been walking around with my fingers crossed over the prospect for over a year. But, yes, Sherrod Brown is wasting our tax money by calling for an investigation. The orbiters are soon to become artifacts; their purpose becomes to educate and inspire. They can do the most good where the most people can see them, and that justifies the selections on the coasts in major tourism centers. There are a lot of ways to crunch the numbers about location and site visitation to boost Dayton’s argument, but no matter how much we love the Air Force Museum, it’s not in New York, DC, LA, or Orlando. More people will see the shuttles in those locations.

    (And there’s no such thing as no admission cost to a museum. The admission price to a “free museum” is the total daily operational cost of the place divided by the number of visitors that day. I don’t know the stats, but I doubt the Air Force Museum Foundation covers the costs without taxpayers footing at least part of the bill.)

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