Replica space shuttle Explorer renamed ‘Independence’

The replica space shuttle known to Central Floridians as “Explorer” during its 18 years on exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex now has a new name to go with its new home in Houston.
Explorer stood on display in Brevard County for nearly two decades, but once NASA announced Florida would get to keep a real shuttle, Atlantis, the replica was moved to the Johnson Space Center to be part of its own new, $12 million exhibit.

But Houston decided their new shuttle needed a new name, and the Johnson Space Center ran a contest.

Several months and more than 10,000 votes later, the name “Independence” was chosen, submitted by a man from Kingwood, Texas, who will get the VIP treatment at the Johnson Space Center when the new exhibit opens, currently scheduled to happen in 2015.
Independence will be mounted on top of a real, retired Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

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