The one thing I want this year for christmas is a used vehicle. Not any used vehicle mind you. I have a very specific one in mind. This one is vintage early-80’s and probably has hundreds of thousands of miles on its odometer. It needs a huge safety check and overhaul and I probably won’t ever be able to drive it. All that for the very low price of $36 million dollars, plus $6 million shipping and handling.
NASA today has released a RFI (Request for Information) to various educational institutions, museums and organizations to gauge their interest in a slightly used space orbiter. NASA has 3 of these that its willing to part with after the Space Shuttle Program’s retirement in 2010 or shortly thereafter.
The RFI states that it is an attempt at “identifying whether potential recipient organizations are capable of bearing the full cost of Space Shuttle Orbiter safing and final display preparation, SSME assembly and final display preparation, and transportation.”
The cost of decontaminating each Orbiter, making it safe for public display, and transporting it to its final destination is estimated at approximately $42 million.
This $42 million estimate includes a $6 million cost to air ferry the Orbiter by Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from the Kennedy Space Center to a U. S. destination airport. This early estimate is based on specific assumptions by NASA about the minimum tasks which must be performed for public display of a Space Shuttle Orbiter.
And of course “the estimate is subject to change”.
So if you don’t know what to buy an amateur astronomer, science geek, or me. Consider a space orbiter from NASA. It’s bound to be the next tickle-me Elmo.