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NASA likely to give away space shuttles

When the space shuttle program ends in 2010, the agency hopes to give the remaining spacecraft to appropriate institutions.

The space shuttle Discovery touching down at Kennedy Space Center on June 14, 2008. NASA now says it is going to solicit proposals for how to display the shuttles once the program ends in 2010.
Daniel Terdiman/CNET News

Want your very own authentic space shuttle?

Well, if you're part of the community of "educational institutions, science museums and other appropriate organizations," NASA just might have something for you after the shuttle program ends in 2010.

On Wednesday, the space agency issued a request for information (RFI) soliciting ideas for what to do with the shuttle orbiters and main engines once the program ends.

Sponsored by NASA's Office of Infrastructure, the RFI seeks input from appropriate officials and decision makers from museums, science centers, institutions, and other organizations dedicated to education or educational outreach with experience in public display of space hardware and nationally-recognized historical artifacts," NASA said in a release. NASA will use information gained from this RFI to develop strategies for eventual placement of two space shuttle orbiters and a minimum of six unassembled space shuttle main engine display "kits."

The agency said the purpose of the initiative is to decide whether institutions or other members of the community have the appropriate wherewithal to display a shuttle or engines, including the ability to fund such efforts.

Interested applicants have until March 17, 2009 to respond.

It's probably safe to say, however, that NASA doesn't intend for the recipients of the shuttles to fly them, and as such, probably won't be providing astronauts with the delivery of the spacecraft.