AEROSPACE HISTORY
10:40 am
Tue April 12, 2011

Seattle's Museum of Flight won't get a space shuttle

NASA says Seattle's Museum of Flight won't get to display one of the retiring space shuttles.

The museum near Boeing Field was one of 21 museum and science centers around the country hoping to land one of the spaceships. A new building called the Space Gallery was being prepared for the display.

In a statement released before the official announcement Tuesday, Washington Lt. Gov. Brad Owen said:

"While we are very disappointed that the Seattle Museum of Flight was not selected by NASA to be the home of a retired Space shuttle, we are very proud of the outstanding effort made by Bonnie Dunbar and her team for this extremely tough competition. The citizens of Washington will still benefit greatly by having this wondrous gallery at the museum. The gallery will serve as a place where our state's extensive contributions to the shuttle program and our nation's incredible achievements in space exploration can be both studied and acknowledged."

Where are the spacecraft going?

One space shuttle was already spoken for - the Smithsonian Institution is getting Discovery. It will take the place of Enterprise, the shuttle prototype used for tests in the late 1970s. The Enterprise will be going to Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York.

The shuttle Atlantis is going to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Endeavor is going to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

SeattleP-I.com's Aubrey Cohen reports that the Museum of Flight will get the full-fuselage trainer from the Johnson Space Center once the shuttle program ends.  Museum Marketing Director Mike Bush insisted last year that this had no bearing on the institution’s chances of landing a real shuttle.

The Museum of Flight broke ground last year on a $12 million, 15,500-square-foot, glass-fronted Human Space Flight Gallery that would house a shuttle, should it win one. It designed the gallery in 2007 with a shuttle in mind.