labels: Space missions
NASA to retire 3 space shuttles news
19 December 2008

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will give away three space shuttles - Endeavour, Atlantis and Discovery - once they finish their missions in 2010. They will, however, remain with those institutions or museums that are part of the programme.

NASA has put a request for information from officials seeking advice to see where the historic space shuttles could best be accommodated.

NASA will discuss the issue with people associated with educational institutions, science museums or organisations to look at the possibility of taking the space shuttles until 17 March 2009. The space agency will take a final decision after analysing the ability of displaying the space shuttle and the funds for its upkeep.

As of now, it has been decided to keep the Discovery orbiter with the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Discovery, the oldest orbiter in service after it had performed research and International Space Station missions, is now being prepared for the next space shuttle mission, STS-119, which will start on 12 February 2009.

As for Atlantis, the fourth operational shuttle built by NASA, it is not yet certain whether it would be retired in 2008 or in 2010. It is also likely to be launched in May 2009.

Endeavour, the fifth and last NASA space shuttle, is currently being prepared for its mission, STS-127, which will start as early as a5 May 2009.

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NASA to retire 3 space shuttles