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Wilde About Texas: NASA shuttle makes journey to Houston
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It may not have flown in space, but it represents an important part of Texas' ties to the space program. The mock up of the Explorer shuttle is now a retired NASA aircraft at the space center in Houston.
"Houstonians live with the space program everyday and we're still excited about it," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said.
It took eight days for the shuttle to make its way, by barge, across the Gulf of Mexico.
"Johnson Space Center did the planning, the training and the flying of the shuttle, so our goal is to tell that story to young and old alike," Richard Allen with the Johnson Space Center said. "I can relate to being a proud papa today, getting this thing over here and tied up to the dock."
While many are disappointed this isn't a real space shuttle, officials are staying upbeat.
"I'd love to have a shuttle that has flown, but we don't need an artifact to remind us of the space program. We've lived the space program," Mayor Parker said.
Later this fall, an exhibit featuring that space shuttle replica will open the Johnson Space Center. Now, the replica will have some advantages that a real space shuttle wouldn't.
"The tourists and children, especially, get to walk through it to see what the shuttle looks like,” Mike Coates with the space center said. “All the other three orbiters that are going to museums around the country will be sealed up and they can look at it from the outside. They won't get a chance to look inside."
Click here to see NASA’s pictures of the shuttle’s journey.