Endeavour Crew Stabs Houston in Back (Sorta) Over Getting a Retired Shuttle

Houston, still smarting over missing out on a retired space shuttle, now gets to hear NASA astronauts going on and on about how the decision was a great one.

Members of the Endeavour crew were in Los Angeles recently to take part in the California Science Center's formal acceptance of their aircraft, which should have gone to Houston, dammit.

Pilot Greg "Box" Johnson and mission specialists Mike Fincke and Drew Feustel spoke with the Los Angeles Times about their ship and its new home.

So did they stand up and say "Houston got screwed!!" Alas, they did not:

Q: I want to get your views on the space shuttle selection process. Did any of you think Houston should've gotten a space shuttle?

Johnson: Of course. Trouble is, there's not enough space shuttles to go around. I know there's a lot of logic going into the thinking. We have a bunch of smart people. The space shuttle was born here in California. There's a population center here in California.

Fincke: This is a bastion of aerospace.

Johnson: So it's a great choice. Did Houston want to have a shuttle? Of course they did. But there were a lot of other places that wanted a space shuttle as well. If we could've had all five -- [laughter].

Fincke: Endeavour saved her best flight for the last. She had no anomalies. Essentially, no anomalies on the mission. She's a beautiful, clean bird. She gave it all so that we had an almost flawless mission. And now we know Endeavour is going to a good home. And like Mark Kelly said, her mission is not over.

Fincke -- a Pittsburgh Steeler fan -- twisted the knife even more:

"There is not an aerospace vehicle ever like the space shuttle. And Endeavour is in my mind the crown jewel of the fleet. It's the newest one," he said. "There's never been a spaceship like this before, and for a long time, there won't be.

"So the kids, the parents, here in California, are really lucky to have a chance to spend time with Endeavour. And I hope that they get inspired as much as we are and look forward to the future. And look forward to engineering and science and math -- and all those really cool things that are embodied in such a sexy spacecraft."

Hey Fincke: Texans 17, Steelers 10.

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