Why does Texas have the Space Shuttle on their license plate?

Why does Texas have the Space Shuttle on their license plate?

I was driving through Hagerstown the other day when I happened to notice the license plate of the car in front of me. The driver was from Texas. At least their car was. It was a white plate with a tiny cowboy riding a horse. The was some oil derricks and some sage brush. In the top right corner was a crescent moon. What got my attention what was featured in the top left corner.

It was the Space Shuttle.

Texas has nothing to do with the Space Shuttle

What did the state of Texas have to do with the Space Shuttle? It doesn’t launch from there. The Space Shuttle launches from Florida. It doesn’t land there, even though it is shown landing on the Texas plate. The Space Shuttle lands in either Florida or California. It once landed in New Mexico.

It was not built in Texas. I happen to know for a fact that every Space Shuttle ever built was constructed in Palmdale, California. I know this because I grew up only a few miles from the actual plant where every shuttle was built.

Californians built the Space Shuttle, not Texans.

As a kid growing up, I took great pride in the Space Shuttle. I guess I still do. It bothers me to see that Texas asserting some sort of ownership on something it has nothing to do with. Something like the Space Shuttle.

47 thoughts on “Why does Texas have the Space Shuttle on their license plate?”

  1. well, the space shuttle Columbia DID disintgrate over Texas, so i guess even NASA can’t mess with Texas

    ok no, if it’s a new thing on their plates, then it may be a gaudy tribute to the Columbia crew, and the fact they were flying in a 22 year old spacecraft, you’d think a new fleet of shuttles would be in service by now, but i guess science takes a back seat to ummm other things

  2. “NASA Mission Control is in Houston.”

    Then why show the actual Space Shuttle? If that it was they are trying to convey, they should show a bank of computer monitors with a bunch of geeky guys looking at them. The actual Space Shuttle has NEVER been in Texas. They still put it on their license plate.

        1. Oh I agree. Look at what happened to the Mexican army when they attacked the Alamo. Oh wait a minute, that’s right, Mexico won. Has Texas even come out on top when someone else “messed” with them?

  3. I think it actually disintegrated in the upper atmosphere. I don’t know if that is considered Texas airspace.

    Who can’t mess with Texas? Everyone that has ever messed with Texas has walked away the winner. Texas sucks.

    1. Really YALL?? “Houston we have a problem” doesn’t ring a bell? Its because Houston is where the control center for NASA is. Have yall never heard of the Space City? The Rockets? The Astros? (short for astronauts in case you couldn’t catch on). And where do yall get off saying Texas sucks? Guess haters are gonna do what haters do- hate.

      1. The only rocket that has ever taken off from Texas is a model rocket. Just because your NBA team calls itself the Rockets doesn’t mean anything. My local NBA team calls itself the Wizards. That doesn’t mean Harry Potter is from here.

  4. Another sad irony about the shuttle on the Texas license plate is that most people in Texas probably couldn’t care less about it. And the last President from Texas who even pretended to give a fuck about the space program was Lyndon Johnson. God knows neither Bush has done shit for NASA.


  5. Whoa, what with the hostility? Do recall that the space shuttle wouldn’t get very far without the Johnson Space Center in constant communication with it. Texas is a huge part of the NASA space program – in Clear Lake is the training facility for astronauts.

    So, yeah, we can put a space shuttle on our plates all we like, we’re just as heavily involved with NASA as any other state, and more than most. Would you have preferred they put a Saturn V rocket on there?

  6. So, yeah, we can put a space shuttle on our plates all we like, we’re just as heavily involved with NASA as any other state, and more than most. Would you have preferred they put a Saturn V rocket on there?

    No, I would recommend to the state of Texas to only put stuff on their plates that actually have something to do with their state instead of sponging off on the achievements of other states.

    The space shuttle wasn’t built in Texas.
    It has never launched from Texas.
    It has never landed in Texas.

    If you want to bring attention to the Johnson Space Center, show a guy sitting in a chair staring at a monitor while he eats a donut.

  7. Although the space shuttle does launch from Flordia once it leaves the launchpad all systems switch over to Johnson Space Center in Houston. All communications and procedures done by the shuttle while in space are controlled by Johnson.

      1. You mad bro? By your logic, California wouldn’t be able to have a shuttle on their plate if they wanted, but instead a guy with a wrench because that’s where they’re built. Seriously, Mission Control is a big deal for NASA, whether you like it or not. There’s a reason Kennedy came and gave his famous “man on the moon” speech in Houston. As far as saying that the location of Mission Control is arbitrarily located in Houston, I could say the same about the testing, engineering, and building of the shuttles.

        1. California doesn’t have a Shuttle on their plates and they probably never will. If the state of California were to put everything they have to be proud of on their licence plate, the plate would be too big to fit on a car.

          Texas doesn’t have that problem. Far from it. In fact, they have the opposite problem.

    1. AND, Gregg County Airport in Longview, Texas is an alternate landing strip for the shuttle. I saw it there. It was piggy-back on the 747, but visited to show thanks for the folks of Gregg County for building the 10,000 foot runway to accommodate it.

  8. Christine M Stellrecht

    Houston is Space City. Hello, that is why our teams are named the Rockets and the Astos. The Astronauts live here and train here. All of the missions are planned out here.
    This is where the heart of NASA is.

    1. No it’s not. The only reason NASA even has a presence in Texas was because of Lyndon B. Johnson and politics. Your team may be called the Rockets, but no rocket has ever been launched into space from anywhere in Texas.

    we have the shuttle on our license plates because mission control is here. sure you have the launch and landing sites somewhere else but without our space center the missions could not follow through.

  10. Rick, ALL the astronauts train here, when a mission is going to hell it’s people in HOUSTON that work through the night to bring them back. NASA is our biggest tourist attraction, you can walk through where all the astronauts train. They designed the shuttle in Houston with engineers that live here. So we’re not taking credit for something other states have accomplished we’ve been at the heart of everything NASA has ever done. And STEVE, FYI Texans are VERY proud of NASA, politics are politics but please don’t try to assume what Texans think, stick to your own opinions.

    1. They designed the shuttle in Houston with engineers that live here.

      No. The Space Shuttle was designed and built by Rockwell International in southern California, not Texas. It’s one of the many reasons Los Angeles is getting a Space Shuttle for display and Houston isn’t.

  11. They should have a picture of an astronaut instead of the Shuttle. Would that please everyone?

    Wichita, Kansas was nicknamed “The Air Capital”. It didn’t get that nickname because there happens to be an aircraft control tower at the local airport. It wasn’t because people train to become pilots there. It received that distinction because there are like 3 different aircraft “manufacturers” there. They received that title because they “built” the item in that city.

  12. Y’all are just jealous. Houston is Space City; NASA is based there. Without Texas, the Space Shuttle program would not exist. The brains behind the missions are here at Mission Control. Did you know that the first word spoken on the moon was Houston? “Houston, the Eagle has landed.”

    1. “Y’all are just jealous.”

      In a rational argument, you claim that people are “jealous”, based on their responses? A person with egotism would make that claim.

      “Without Texas, the Space Shuttle program would not exist.”

      Bullshit. Revise what you said to read, “Without Lyndon Johnson, Texas would not have Misson Control NASA station.”

      Houston, TX was one of multiple cities that had been considered for a possible location for Mission Control. There were other states that can just as easily hold it. Texas got it because Lyndon Johnson pushed for it in Congress, was from Texas, and had a congressional district within 20 miles of Houston. If Johnson had been from New Mexico or Arizona, that’s where Mission Control would be today. By the way, Houston is only one of ten NASA facilities around the country. One of them I can see from the freeway as I drive to work, here in northern California.

  13. Because, Rick, Houston is the center for manned space flight. Regardless of the fact that NASA is headquartered in DC, many of the other non-JSC NASA facilities support JSC’s mission of manned space flight. It is the real heart of the space program, and they’ve done a lot of testing and research that have led to the success of the space program today. As such, they choose the symbol of the space program (and I’d say it’ll be the symbol for a long time) rocketing over Texas (can’t remember if it was actually supposed to be landing at Edwards or not), and it’s a bit of a nod to Columbia, which broke up over Texas. Do you think Texans do not take as much pride as Californians in the Space Shuttle? Do you think we (particularly in Houston) are not irked about having been cheated out of a Space Shuttle by New York? Texas as much a claim to the Space Shuttle as California and Florida.

  14. I can’t believe that you’re so oblivious to Mission Control. Only someone from Maryland would be so blunderingly myopic about the role Houston plays in getting the Space Shuttle off the ground, into orbit, and back again. Way to fail.

    1. I’m not from Maryland. I’m from California. I grew up only a few miles from where they built the Space Shuttle. If Texas wants to honor Mission Control, then by all means honor it with an image of a guy squinting at a CRT, drinking a cup of coffee.

  15. If you have nothing better to do than cry about what another state does or doesn’t have on their license plates (and especially whether it’s flying or gliding or blasting off or doing donuts on the freeway) , and then spend this much time and effort arguing about the particulars, then, my friend – you need to get out more. Who gives a rat’s arse what’s on another state’s plates? I could care less what’s on anybody else’s plates – I’ve lived in New York, but if Montana decided to put the Statue of Liberty on their license plate – more power to ’em… If you really want something legitimate to complain about – complain to your very own state of California for not having a space shuttle on their plates. You say they couldn’t fit everything on their cars that they’re proud of – have you ever heard of special interest plates? Most states have dozens of different license plate designs available for many different special interests… I’m sure if enough people agree with you they’ll come out with one entirely dedicated to the shuttle.

    1. As much as I value the opinion of somewhat anonymous people who leave comments on four year old blog posts, I must respectably disagree.

      I don’t need to get out more.

      I believe I get out enough already. In fact, if anything, I believe that I may need to get out even less.

      You and I will just have to agree to disagree.

  16. What does the United States have to do with Texas? One of them did a fine job over 8 years of destroying this country. So why not a space shuttle? One of them rained all over their state. I suppose destruction is just in their hearts.

  17. Texas has the weirdest laws. For example, if a person commits suicide with a firearm, that firearm must be destroyed. As though, the firearm was responsible for killing the person. “Bad firearm! You will now be destroyed!.” I suppose one could make an argument for tearing down a bridge, if the person decided that they would commit suicide by jumping off? Perhaps this is a topic for a different discussion.

  18. Just assuming because we have more AFBs in texas than any other state. Shit San Antonio had 5 at one time. Which only leaves me assume we’re the air force state and what is more iconic of the air force than the space shuttle. I might be wrong but isn’t nasa part of the air force

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