CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - The three retiring U.S. space shuttles will be going on display at museums in Florida, California and Virginia, the NASA space agency said on Tuesday.
Museums around the nation competed for the aging shuttles, which are being retired due to high operating costs and to free up funds for a new generation of spacecraft that can fly farther from Earth.
"Take good care of our vehicles. They have served the nation well," NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden said.
The shuttle Atlantis, which is being prepared for the 30-year-old shuttle program's 135th and final flight this summer, will stay in Florida, roosting at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center.
Endeavour, which is now at the launch pad for its final liftoff on April 29, is promised to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
And Discovery, which completed its final mission last month, will go to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center in northern Virginia.
The Smithsonian also will transfer the shuttle prototype Enterprise to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City.
(Reporting by Irene Klotz, editing by Jane Sutton and Eric Beech)