The final space shuttle landing July 21 opened new prospects for eligible education institutions, museums and other organizations to receive a piece of spaceflight history. On Monday, Aug. 15, the eighth batch of artifacts from NASA's space programs will be [URL=http://gsaxcess.gov/NASAWel.htm]available on a website[/URL] that the agency and the General Services Administration (GSA) developed.
The artifacts are not only from the shuttle era, but also from the Apollo, Mercury, and Hubble Telescope programs. The approximately 2,000 items include:
[b]Scott Carpenter Space Analog Station[/b]. Credit: NASA/GSA
[list][*]the Scott Carpenter Space Analog Station, an underwater habitat that was used to demonstrate space life support system ideas for use on space stations
[*]shuttle heat shield tiles used to test problems experienced during missions
[*]parts of Apollo and space shuttle era spacesuits, including hard upper torso garments to protect astronauts from extreme temperatures[/list] Each artifact will be available for 42 days. For the first 21 days, internal organizations such as NASA visitor centers, agency exhibit managers and the Smithsonian Institution may request artifacts. External organizations, including museums, schools, universities, libraries, and planetariums may request artifacts during the following 21 days.
[b]Shuttle heat shield tiles[/b]. Credit: NASA/GSA
After the screening period and completion of the request process, organizations will be notified about the status of their application.
Artifacts are released incrementally when NASA no longer needs them, in accordance with export control laws and regulations. They are provided free of charge, but requesting organizations must pay for shipping and any special handling costs.
To date, approximately 29,000 items of historic significance have been offered, mainly from the shuttle, with contributions from the Hubble, Apollo, Mercury, Gemini, and International Space Station programs. Approximately 3,000 artifacts have been requested. The remainder will be considered for federal and state reuse and then offered to the general public for sale.
In addition to the artifacts, NASA also is offering a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) through another GSA hosted [URL=http://gsaxcess.gov/]web-based site[/URL].
[b]Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA)[/b]. Credit: NASA
The STA is a modified Gulfstream II that allowed pilots to simulate orbiter landings under controlled conditions.
Other STAs will be displayed at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Dryden Flight Research Center in California, and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.