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Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States - Housing the Space Shuttle Orbiter

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, ranking member of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, led the charge to rally Members of the Texas Congressional Delegation to send a letter to President Obama to request that the city of Houston and the Johnson Space Center serve as the new home for the Space Shuttle Orbiter.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee has been a zealous advocate for NASA, not only for its contribution to America's technological advancement, but also for the tens of thousands of jobs that are created by the space industry in this country. Congresswoman Jackson Lee has been a strong supporter of legislation that would ensure job stability at NASA facilities and provide educational opportunities for students interested in the space industry, including the Johnson Space Center Workforce Stability Act of 2010 and the Sowing the Seeds through Science and Engineering Research Act.

Upon hearing of the news that Houston had fallen to the bottom of a list of cities being considered to host the display of the Space Shuttle Orbiter, Congresswoman Jackson Lee immediately began working with her colleagues to lead a bipartisan effort to educate the Administration about Houston's long, rich history with the Space Shuttle Program, and to request that Houston be highly considered as the public display location for this historic spacecraft.

Below is the text of the letter that Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and other Members of the Texas Congressional Delegation sent to President Obama:

March 21, 2011

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Recent reports indicate that the City of Houston is at or near the bottom of a short list for three cities being considered to host a public display of the Space Shuttle Orbiter. We respectfully submit that denying the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center ("JSC"), and the City of Houston, the honor of displaying an Orbiter would forever diminish the service rendered by the City of Houston and create a blemish on its significance to the legacy of NASA as it closes this chapter in its history.

Therefore, we are respectfully urging you to strongly consider Houston as a preeminent city for the high honor of receiving an Orbiter for public display. Houston has played -- and continues to play -- a central role in the development of the U.S. Space Program. As you know, countless, hardworking dedicated and patriotic Americans gladly contributed their time, energy, service and ingenuity to enrich the historic accomplishments at JSC, for NASA and the United States of America.

Not long after President Kennedy set our nation on the course of putting a man on the moon, the City of Houston became a key player in the realization of that goal. The JSC opened its doors in 1963 and since then has been responsible for coordinating and monitoring every manned NASA mission since Gemini IV. In the course of uttering his famous phrase, Neil Armstrong, communicated with JSC's Mission Control Center from the surface of the moon, as he proudly proclaimed "Houston, the Eagle has landed." In its unrelenting commitment to service, JSC continues to train every U.S. Astronaut and scores of international astronauts at its NASA Astronaut Corps Training Center. JSC has played a significant role in U.S. space flight during times of triumph and tragedy. None among us will ever forget the deeply moving speech which President Ronald Reagan delivered at JSC in the wake of the tragic Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. This is but a snapshot of the significant role JSC plays as part of the U.S. Space Program. The heart and soul of the City of Houston and the JSC are forever intertwined with the Space Shuttle program and U.S. Aeronautical history.

So Mr. President, on behalf of the great State of Texas, and all Houstonians, we ask for your assistance in recognizing Houston's unwavering and supportive role in America's Space Flight history and allow Houston the honor of serving as one of the host cities for the upcoming Orbiter display.

We thank you for your continuing leadership and your generous consideration of this matter.


Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee
Congressman Pete Olson
Congressman Henry Cuellar
Congressman Gene Green
Congressman Al Green
Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson
Congressman Ted Poe
Congressman Ron Paul
Congressman Louie Gohmert
Congressman Charlie Gonzalez
Congressman Ralph Hall
Congressman Joe Barton
Congressman Randy Neugebauer
Congressman Lamar Smith
Congressman Quico Canseco
Congressman Pete Sessions
Congressman John Carter
Congressman John Culberson

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