NASA’s having a garage sale, and everything must go! Seriously, everything. The three-decade-old space shuttle program is winding down later this year, and NASA has decided to sell the three remaining shuttles to museums. The only problem is they’re not getting much interest.
So last Friday, NASA did what any motivated seller would: Slash the price. NASA is now selling shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour for $28.8 million — nearly a third less than their original price tag of $42 million. (Shuttle Discovery has been promised to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy center in Northern Virginia, which currently houses the Enterprise prototype that never flew into space.)
On the surface, it seems like a reasonable plan to unload massive pieces of hardware. But given that cocaine was recently found in Shuttle Discovery’s hangar, one has to wonder just how big a habit NASA has if it’s hocking its heirlooms.
Can’t scrape together nearly $29 million, but still want a taste of outer space? You can now get an actual engine from the shuttle for free, as long as you cover the costs of moving and housing the eight-foot-diameter, four-ton behemoths. The AP reported on Saturday that NASA tried to sell them for $400,000 to $800,000 apiece in December 2008, but got no offers and is now literally giving them away. This may be the last step before putting them up on Craigslist, alongside Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show.