Image by nasa1fan/MSFC via FlickrI read with some delight this morning that NASA must be a little strapped for cash. Well not that exactly but that as they plan to return astronauts to the moon at some point in the future, they have organised what must be the ultimate car-boot sale to boost their coffers. How do you fancy owning a space shuttle? Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour have been put on the market at the bargain price of $42m (£27m) each.
This may sound like a lot of money but it does quite literally include packing and shipping (to an airport of your choice). As to what you would do with one of the behemoth vehicles? Well it appears that you have to be a museum or some kind of educational institution to even apply. That's a great shame as I'd love to have one parked on my driveway. I'm not sure the neighbours would approve though. :-)
Previously, NASA has donated historically important space hardware for free. Saturn rockets, lunar modules and other artefacts from the Apollo era are on display at various locations including the Kennedy Space Centre, in Florida, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, in Washington DC, and the US Space and Rocket Centre, in Alabama.
The last shuttle mission is scheduled for September 2010, when construction of the international space station is expected to be complete. The planned first manned flight of the new Orion crew capsule and Ares rocket is to take place in 2015.