NASA's Inspector General has issued a report that found no political interference with the decisions on where to send the retired space shuttles for display, decisions which of course shut out Houston.
"We found no evidence that the Team's recommendation or the Administrator's decision were tainted by political influence or any other improper consideration," the report said.
The "Team" did indeed recommend Houston get a shuttle, but then new NASA administrator Charles Bolden moved the goalposts. He decided, the report said, to base the shuttles on where the most people would see them, whether or not those sites had any NASA connection.
So new criteria were developed, and this scoring chart was produced:
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Houston got docked for having to fundraise and build a facility for a shuttle and for regional population because ours is under 12 million. Houston also took a big hit for not being affiliated with either the American Association of Museums or the Smithsonian Institution.
Scoring higher than the Johnson Space Center (JSC) under these criteria were:
1. The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York 2. California Science Center in L.A. 3. Kennedy Space Center in Florida 4. Museum of Flight in Seattle 5. National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Dayton, Ohio 6. San Diego Air & Space Museum 7. Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, McMinnville, Oregon 8. Adler Planetarium, Chicago 9. March Field Air Museum, Riverside, California.
But hey, we beat out the George Bush Library at A&M! And they were working in concert with the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History!