Final resting places for shuttles chosen

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL (RNN) - New homes for NASA's remaining shuttle fleet were unveiled Tuesday during the space shuttle's 30th anniversary ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced the Space Shuttle Atlantis will be permanently showcased at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the launching site of all the shuttle missions.

"The millions of visitors who come to the Kennedy Space Center to learn about the space program will see a true rarity, an actual flown space vehicle," Bolden said to overwhelming applause.

Endeavour will be left to the California Science Center in Los Angeles, while Enterprise will be moved to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York.

As expected, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington will be the new home of the first retiree, Space Shuttle Discovery.

Discovery will replace the test obiter Enterprise, and join the ranks of The Wright Brother's 1903 glider, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, and Apollo 11's command module, Columbia.

With a sometimes strained voice, Bolden eulogized the Space Shuttle program, highlighting the successes and failures of the 30-year program.

Astronauts John W. Young and Robert L. Crippen hurled the space shuttle Columbia away from Earth's gravity on April 12, 1981. Thirty-six orbits later, Columbia glided safely back to Earth.

Over the next 30 years, four other orbiters - Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour - would escape the bonds of Earth during 133 missions, launching and repairing the Hubble telescope and constructing the International Space Station.

The space shuttle program has not been without its disasters. Two space shuttles' tenures were cut short in devastating accidents - Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003.

The final two flights of the space shuttle are set with Endeavour, targeted to launch April 29, and Atlantis in June.

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