Monday, May 24, 2010

Who Gets the Space Shuttle Atlantis When It's Put out of Commission?

The Atlantis space shuttle returns to earth very soon, completing its final mission. The other two shuttles – Challenger and I forget the other name... Pegasus? Reagan? Millennium Falcon? whatever – also each have one last flight to make before the entire fleet (if three spaceships can be called a fleet and not an affectation) is retired.

So my question of the day: Who gets the Atlantis when it's done doing its work? Does it get sold to some Russian billionaire? A Saudi billionaire? Chinese billionaire? (After the recent near-depression, do we have any American billionaires left? I mean for real, not on paper?)

Are we going to see the shuttle refurbished and used as an amusement park, some sort of space-themed restaurant? Will a Russian billionaire buy Atlantis and a Chinese billionaire buy the Challenger, and they'll play aerial battles against each other? (Um, that would be cool, but probably impractical; besides, I'm sure NASA will remove all of the photon torpedoes and laser banks before selling the ships).

While the national "news" media wastes its time covering so-called stories such as financial reform and the Afghanistan war, this real news is just waiting to be explored and reported. Hello, PBS NewsHour?
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