Yes, it was disappointing that NASA decided not to retire a space shuttle to Houston. But a “snub?” That’s the default formulation here at home, the assumption that the intention behind yesterday’s announcement was “to treat [us] with contempt or neglect so as to humiliate or repress.” Is no one ready to consider that, perhaps, the other places made better offers? Even Houston’s Leading Information Source surprised with an un-hometown-ish editorial today: Houston, don’t take it for granted that we’re Space City; we have to work harder and smarter.
What, you say politics played a role in this decision, and a Congressional investigation is called for? Why, I am shocked—shocked—to think that politics is involved in any way in the operations of an agency of the federal government.
NASA’s denial that politics influenced the decision is…probably a bit disingenuous. I can believe that the bureaucrat who oversaw the collection and review of the applications did not have a political axe to grind when she made her recommendations; I can also believe that political considerations were taken into account farther up the food chain. If you saw NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden making the announcement at the Kennedy Space Center yesterday, it was clear he was not happy about the words that were coming out of his mouth.
And sure, I can understand how, in the category of “close historical ties” to NASA, the New York City museum on board the USS Intrepid—which recovered the crews from one (1) Mercury mission and one (1) Gemini mission—clearly wins out over the facility at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, which has trained every American astronaut who ever flew and has controlled every American manned spaceflight since Gemini 4. No contest.
Sorry, guys, but anything beyond “oh golly isn’t that disappointing” is just being a sore loser.