The U.S. House has approved legislation requiring NASA to issue quarterly reports on its progress in distributing the retired space shuttles, the Houston Chronicle’s SciGuy blog reports.
Under the bill, NASA must provide information including the expected date of the shuttles’ transfer to museums in Florida, New York, Washington and California; how they will be protected during the move; the total cost to NASA for their storage, preparation and transport; and each recipient’s physical and educational plan for displaying its shuttle. The bill also states that if NASA determines that a recipient cannot or will not meet the milestones to which it committed as a condition of orbiter receipt, NASA should immediately notify Congress and provide a proposed course of action.
U.S. Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas), a critic of NASA’s decision to not award a retired shuttle to Houston, said in a statement: “In the wake of recent reports on alternate plans for displaying Enterprise in New York City, taxpayers deserve to know that the cities scheduled to receive orbiters can and will fully meet their obligations. If they don’t, Congress will hold them accountable and consider alternate options.”