U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R., Dayton) talks Tuesday about the decision of NASA to not give one of its retired space shuttles to the the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton.
Al Behrman / AP Enlarge
DAYTON — The Dayton area did better with the NCAA than with NASA.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in southwest Ohio was bypassed Tuesday in the nationwide competition to become home to one of the space shuttles.
Hundreds of people went to the museum to watch the announcement live from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. There were scattered groans as the last shuttle was awarded to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York. Shuttles also were awarded to museums in Los Angeles, suburban Washington, and Cape Canaveral, Fla.
U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said the decision left out "the entire middle portion of the country."
Turner was part of the effort by local officials and Ohio political leaders to land a shuttle for the museum that draws some 1.3 million people a year.
"If it was politics, it's bad politics," Turner said.
"It is a tough one for us," said retired Lt. Gen. John Hudson, the museum director. But he said the museum will go ahead with plans to keep expanding and adding air and space exhibits.
The shuttle decision was a disappointment for Bob Herren, who says he enjoys visiting the museum that's some 300 miles from his Lexington, Ky., home.
"It'd be nice to be able to see the shuttle here," Herren said.
NASA announced the new locations for the retired orbiters on the 30th anniversary of the first shuttle launch.
Dayton, which was among 21 museums and visitor centers that put in bids for the spaceships, calls itself the birthplace of aviation. It's the hometown of the Wright brothers.
Last month, Dayton hosted the NCAA men's basketball First Four opening games and also a women's tournament regional.