SEATTLE, Aug. 11 (UPI) — An aviation museum in Seattle wants one of the iconic space shuttles when NASA retires the three-orbiter fleet — and says it will have the space for it.
The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field is one of about 20 museums in the country competing for one of the three space shuttles scheduled to be retired by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as soon as next year, The (Olympia, Wash.) Olympian reported Wednesday.
It is not clear what selection criteria NASA will use to select permanent homes for the space shuttles but the Museum of Flight says it meets all the requirements outlined to date.
As an example, the museum says, NASA officials say candidates must have a covered structure in place by July 2011 to house a space shuttle — and the museum is breaking ground this month for its 15,500-square-foot Space Gallery.
Museum officials say they have secured $11 million of the $12 million needed for the museum expansion.
If the museum isn’t awarded a shuttle, it says, the exhibit space will still be put to good use, housing a full fuselage shuttle training module donated by NASA along with a number of other artifacts from the space program.
“We will have an exhibit plan, even if the shuttle isn’t there,” museum Executive Director Bonnie Dunbar, a former Rockwell engineer and astronaut who flew five space shuttle missions, said.
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