Washington was not the first word spoken on the moon. When a situation turns bad no one says "Los Angeles, we have a problem" because no wants help from Charlie Sheen. Houston is Space City, the birthplace of the shuttle program, and the rightful home of one of the retired shuttles.
I'm not saying any of the cities who did receive a shuttle (New York, LA, and Washington D.C.) didn't each deserve a space shuttle. I'm just saying none of them deserved one more than Houston, a city that would give the spacecraft the attention and reverence it deserves.
I grew up in Houston and went to Sally K. Ride Elementary school. Our mascot? The Challengers. My favorite baseball team? The Houston Astros, who played in something called the Astrodome down the street from where the Houston Rockets basketball team also played.
If you haven't yet put two-and-two together, we're NASA crazy. And not just because we name everything after space. The Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida definitely deserves credit for being an important part of the shuttle program, but the Johnson Space Center in Houston is its true home.
"The shuttle really is a program initiated here in Houston," said former JSC director George Abbey. "We're the ones who came up with the concept. We designed it. We tested it. We operated it."
In March 1972, NASA named Houston the "lead center" with overall authority for the Space Shuttle Program Development. The research, the planning, the training, and the command of the shuttle all took place in Houston.
I think a statement from the family members of the astronauts who were lost in the Columbia and Challenger accidents sums it up well:
"We are heartbroken to learn of the decision that the space shuttle will not be allowed to return home to Houston. Home is where the heart is, and Houston has served as the heart of the space shuttle program since its inception nearly four decades ago. All the astronauts lost were Houston residents
We had prayed that the incredible sacrifices this community has endured would have allowed the shuttle's legacy to continue here.
It's a matter of local pride and international recognition. Much of my family is German, and they always want to do two things when they came to Texas: go to the awesome Space Center Houston museum and buy cheap Nike sneakers.
Texas Senator John Cornyn said this decision not to give Houston a shuttle "is an affront to the thousands of dedicated men and women at Johnson Space Center, the greater Houston community and the State of Texas, and I'm deeply disappointed with the Administration's misguided decision."
This is how bad things are. I'm agreeing with Senator John Cornyn. He's right. It's an affront to Texans and a slap in the face to community that's dedicated itself to manned spaceflight.
Look, I'm not saying some intrepid Houstonians should band together and Carmen San Diego one of the space shuttles. I'm just saying we're not using the Astrodome for anything right now and it would fit perfectly inside. All I'm saying...