It's not a shuttle, but Houston will take it
Unsuccessful in landing one of the retired space shuttle orbiters, Houston is getting the next best thing: a replica.
The 122-foot long replica, dubbed "Explorer," is set to arrive in suburban Houston on Friday after an eight-day trip across the Gulf of Mexico aboard a barge from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Though it's a replica, it's not a scaled-down version. Explorer is the same length as the other retired spacecraft.
Houston officials had alleged NASA's decision last year to not award the city one of the agency's four retired shuttles was politically motivated. Many Houstonians were offended by the decision as the city is home to Johnson Space Center and Mission Control.
But NASA's watchdog group said the agency acted properly.
Explorer's new home will be Space Center Houston, Johnson Space Center's official visitor center.