Brown Leads Ohio Delegation to Urge NASA Administrator to Locate Retired Space Shuttle in Dayton

Brown Fought to Have Critical Provision Included in Recently-Passed NASA Authorization Bill

Continues Call to Transfer Retired Shuttle to National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base


WASHINGTON, D.C.  – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) led the Ohio Congressional delegation in urging NASA Administrator Major Gen Charles F Bolden, USMC (Ret.) to locate a retired shuttle National Museum of the United States Air Force (NMUSAF) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Brown joined U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (OH-3) in leading an Ohio delegation letter to Bolden. 

“Ohio’s leadership in aerospace makes our state a perfect home for displaying a retired space shuttle. By locating the Shuttle at Wright-Patt, millions of Americans will be able to see the success of our space program and the integral role Ohio plays in supporting human spaceflight,” Brown said. “There is no better choice than Dayton to house this part of our nation’s history and that is why I fought so hard to give the Ohio bid a seat at the table.”

NASA is retiring its Space Shuttle program—established in the 1970s— and will locate two of the three remaining operating shuttles in museums around the U.S. The NASA Authorization Act names selection criteria for the museums to receive a retired space shuttle for exhibition.

Brown fought to have a critical provision included in the NASA Authorization Act, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in August 2010. Brown’s provision, in support of transferring a retired space shuttle orbiter to the NMUSAF, removed a provision in the bill that would have given priority to museums directly connected to shuttle operations. The provision allows locations that have made significant contributions to human space flight, like Dayton’s NMUSAF, to also be eligible.

In October 2010, Brown visited the NMUSAF to give an update on efforts to bring a retired space shuttle to Dayton. Brown was joined by Lt. General Charlie Metcalf (Ret.), then-Director of the National Museum of the United States Air Force and Jim Leftwich, Director of the Dayton Development Coalition.

Last April, Brown led a bipartisan group of his Ohio delegation colleagues in sending a letter of support for the transfer of a retired orbiter to Acting NASA Administrator Charles Scolese.

The Full Text of the Letter Follows Below.

Major General Charles F. Bolden, USMC (Ret.)

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

300 E Street, S.W.

Washington, D.C.  20546-0002

Dear General Bolden:


We are writing to express our continued support for the Secretary of the Air Force’s request for an interagency transfer of a retired National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Shuttle orbiter for preservation and display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force (NMUSAF) in Ohio.  We wish to reiterate our support for this transfer by emphasizing the mutual advantages for NASA, the Air Force, and the American people.


Public visibility and accessibility are key benefits to placing the orbiter at the Air Force’s national museum.  The NMUSAF, located on historic Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is a cross roads of Middle America.  Within a day’s drive of 60 percent of the U.S. population, the Museum hosts 1.3 million visitors annually.  The NMUSAF, which is the world’s oldest and largest aviation museum, provides a premier venue to showcase the shuttle.  Its ample free parking and free admission make it easily accessible to all.


Of particular note, the Museum has adopted a mission to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and has committed to an intensive STEM education program, not only in connection with the space shuttle, but with all its educational programming.  The Ohio Department of Education, a national leader in STEM education, intends to use a shuttle at the Museum for maximum educational benefits throughout the state, especially in lessons directly aligned with STEM. 


Moreover, the NMUSAF will use the shuttle not only for educational purposes, but in fulfilling its central mission to preserve and present the Air Force story, and to archive aerospace defense technology.  The Museum has the world’s best aviation preservationists.  No other museum in the world can bring to bear the level of knowledge and resources needed to preserve an orbiter.  Thus, by keeping the shuttle in the Air Force and the federal government, a shuttle located at NMUSAF will continue to provide taxpayer benefits.


Strengthening important aerospace heritage relationships is another key benefit of placing an orbiter at the NMUSAF, near the historic home and workplace of the Wright Brothers.  Ohio, the birthplace of aviation, is proud of its century-long tradition of aviation pioneering and human spaceflight development.  The Air Force has been a full partner with NASA in human spaceflight, from its origins in the Mercury program to today.  The Air Force has contributed more than $8 billion in research and development, operations and maintenance, procurement, and construction funding in support of the Shuttle program.  Because of the role of the Department of Defense in developing our nation’s human spaceflight program, including the Space Shuttle Program and sponsoring numerous shuttle missions, it is important to use the shuttle to tell the story to the American people of its important contributions to our national security—and there is no better place to tell that story than in the Defense Department’s largest and most popular museum.


With these facts and our support in mind, we hope that you will carefully consider the many advantages of placing an orbiter under Air Force stewardship at the NMUSAF.  We all look forward to Ohio becoming a home for this national treasure and being able to aid in sharing an important chapter in space history for all Americans.



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Sherrod Brown                                                            Rob Portman
United States Senator                                                   United States Senator



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Michael R. Turner                                                        Steve Austria

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress



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Steve Chabot                                                               Bob Gibbs                                          

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress



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Marcia L. Fudge                                                           Bill Johnson

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress



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Jim Jordan                                                                   Marcy Kaptur 

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress



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Steven C. LaTourette                                                   Robert E. Latta

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress



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Tim Ryan                                                                     Jean Schmidt

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress



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Steve Stivers                                                                Betty Sutton

Member of Congress                                                   Member of Congress




Patrick Tiberi                                                              

Member of Congress                                                  



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