Big Apple Wants Big Shuttle to Boost Travel

intrepid carrierSenator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has ramped up his campaign to bring a new attraction to the Big Apple: a retired space shuttle from NASA that Schumer wants to locate at New York City’s Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum. The centerpiece of the museum is the aircraft carrier Intrepid.

“In these challenging economic times, bringing one of these spacecrafts in New York City will have dramatic long term effects on tourism and the economy,” Schumer said in a statement. ““Not only will the shuttle rest among other celebrated aviation icons on the Intrepid, but it will be visited by over 1 million visitors each year. No other site can offer that volume. Period. Plus, we will generate the resources needed to house and preserve it properly. It’s time to ramp up the fight to bring this spacecraft to land where it belongs—on the Intrepid, in the heart of the Big Apple.”

NASA announced last year its decision to send three soon-to-be retired space shuttles to institutions across the country and Senator Schumer quickly jumped on board the Intrepid's campaign to bring one of these shuttles to New York City.

The Intrepid plans on housing the shuttle in a glass enclosure on the end of Pier 86 on the West Side of Manhattan and is hoping the exhibit could bring more than 1 million visitors a year. Twenty institutions across the country have applied to receive one of the retired shuttles, Discovery, Endeavour, and Atlantis. The shuttles will be ready for delivery in 2012.

Schumer has made a direct appeal to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden to bring a retired space shuttle to New York's Intrepid Museum.He says New York can generate the resources needed to house and preserve the shuttle properly. “It’s time to ramp up the fight to bring this spacecraft to land where it belongs—on the Intrepid, in the heart of the Big Apple.”

NASA's announcement last year to donate three of its retired space shuttles to institutions lead the Intrepid Museum to enlist support from government officials and retired astronauts to bring one of the shuttles to the museum, which already includes a Mercury space capsule, a Concorde passenger jet, and a submarine.

The Intrepid is just one of 20 institutions nationwide that has applied to receive one of the shuttles. NASA is estimating the cost at preparing and delivering each shuttle at $42 million. While the high cost may be a problem for some of the institutions, officials at the Intrepid are confident that they can raise the money by 2012.

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is one of America's leading historic, cultural and educational institutions. Opened in 1982, the Museum reports more than 10 million visitors. The Museum is centered on the aircraft carrier Intrepid, one of the most successful ships in U.S. history, and now a national historic landmark and one of the most visited attractions in New York City. The Intrepid served as one of the primary recovery vessels for NASA.

“The Intrepid has truly been an outstanding icon for New York. Having a shuttle here will not only help the economy, it will reflect New York’s spirit,” Schumer said.

Visit www.intrepidmuseum.org.

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