The High-Stakes Battle for NASA's Mothballed Spaceships

Museums across the country are jostling for pole position for three of the nation's most-prized objets d'science: the decommissioned shuttles that represent America's post-Apollo space program. The spaceships are large and incredibly complex, so you'd think the traditional large museums would have the upper hand, but it turns out, NPR reports, that some surprising contenders have a shot at landing one of the craft.

The trouble is, NASA has only three spaceships -- Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour -- and the agency has said it intends to offer Discovery to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

That just leaves Atlantis and Endeavour, both of which are scheduled to fly for one last time this year. Still, even some small museums think they have a good chance of landing a spaceship that will rocket them into the big time.

For example, Houston wants a shuttle to come home to NASA's Mission Control, but it has some competition nearby. The Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History in Bryan, Texas, has managed to become "a very serious contender" for a shuttle, according to its executive director, Deborah Cowman.

Read the full story at NPR.

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