US space agency NASA is running its own January sale, cutting the price tag of two space shuttles from $42 to $28.8 million (€29.21 to €20.04 million).
Space Shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour will be available for delivery to "education institutions, science museums and other appropriate organizations" from July 2011. They are being retired this year as the US Space Shuttle program is halted in favor of a new space exploration program named Constellation.
NASA originally announced plans to sell the Space Shuttle Orbiters in December 2008, estimating the cost of making safe a shuttle, preparing it for display and transporting to a US airport at $42 million (€29.21 million). Since then, the agency has updated the tasks required, shaving six months and some 30 percent from the asking price.
In total, the Space Shuttle fleet has completed 129 flights, including 31 by Atlantis and 23 by Endeavour. Discovery, the other remaining shuttle of the five-strong fleet, will go on display at the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian. Challenger and Columbia were destroyed in fatal launch/reentry accidents in 1986 and 2003 respectively.
NASA is also offering the main engines from retired space ships to a good home for no charge, according to reports in the US media. The engines were originally offered for $400,000 to $800,000 (€278,415 to €556,831), but lack of interest has reportedly forced NASA to scrap the charge. Any buyer with the funds to arrange transportation and handling of the three-ton engines can now take them off NASA's hands for free.
Responses must be sent to NASA by 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, Feb. 19, 2010, and more information can be found on NASA's website.
For those who aren't interested in purchasing and can't wait for Discovery to be decommissioned, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC already holds Space Shuttle Enterprise, a test orbiter that never made it into space, whilst the Kennedy Space Center near Orlando, Florida has constructed a full size Space Shuttle replica.