Hoping to land one of NASA’s soon-to-be-retired space shuttle orbiters, Seattle’s Museum of Flight broke ground June 29 on a $12 million glass-facade building to house the giant space artifact, the Seattle Times reports.
Museum chief Bonnie Dunbar, a veteran of five shuttle missions, said it’s not a done deal, but feels confident the Seattle museum is one of the few that meets all of NASA’s requirements for publicly displaying a shuttle orbiter.
“Any potential home for a retired shuttle has to meet several criteria — for example, being accredited by the American Association of Museums and being one of the nation’s 200-some Smithsonian Affiliates, which allows them to swap artifacts with other Smithsonian Affiliate museums.
“NASA also requires that the shuttle’s new home have a runway equipped to land a 250-foot-long Boeing 747, and a facility large enough to accommodate the shuttle’s tall tail, roughly six stories high.”
Contrary to what the Seattle Times reported, NASA is retiring three shuttle orbiters, not four. Enterprise, an approach and landing test vehicle not equipped to go to space, already is on display at the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington’s Dulles International Airport.