By Keith Laing - 04/06/11 04:02 PM EDT
The group said Houston was a natural choice because it houses NASA's mission control center. Florida should receive a shuttle because that is where they launched from and land, the group said, and Washington should get one because it is the nation's capital.
"We offer this recommendation to you with the sincere desire that it enables you to honor those communities that have expressed interest in continuing the shuttle's legacy, and yet still bring the shuttle home to Houston where it belongs," the families wrote. "Houston, nicknamed the Space City, is the most recognizable city name in the space program. It is the city name every astronaut calls on from space when beginning a conversation with Mission Control."
Bolden will announce where the space shuttles will be retired on April 12, which will be the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle launch. It will also be the 50th anniversary of human space flight.
NASA is retiring the Atlantis and Endeavour space shuttles after their final flights this year, as well as Discovery, which already returned from its final mission.
Several museums are vying to house the shuttles. Among them are the visitor center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in Manhattan, the Museum of Flight in Seattle, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington is generally considered to be the frontrunner for the Discovery shuttle.