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NASA to Announce Homes for Retired Space Shuttles

ABC News(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) -- Marking the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle launch, NASA will hold a ceremony Tuesday to announce where three retired space shuttles will go to rest once the program ends later this year.

Over 20 museums and science centers across the U.S. are vying for the remaining space shuttles -- Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis.  The chosen hosts will have to shell out about $28 million to prepare, deliver and set up a space shuttle for exhibit.

The announcement comes exactly 30 years after space shuttle Columbia first took orbit on April 12, 1981.  Columbia and Challenger -- two of the five space shuttles that took orbit -- were lost in flight.

In all, the orbiters will have a flown a total of 135 missions once the program comes to an end later this year.  Two more missions remain.

Tuesday also marks the 50th anniversary of the first human to be rocketed into space -- Russian Yuri Gagarin.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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