SEATTLE, March 4, 2011--NASA Administrator Charles Bolden revealed at a House committee hearing this week that a decision regarding placement for the retiring space shuttle orbiters will be announced Tuesday, April 12. The Museum of Flight in Seattle is one of 27 institutions that are vying for one of the retiring orbiters and its new 15,500-sq.-ft. space gallery -- potentially the home of an orbiter -- will be completed in July 2011.
The April 12 date is significant in that it marks the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle launch and the 50th anniversary of the first human in space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.
"We believe that our mission to be the foremost educational air and space museum in the country, along with Washington state's extensive contributions to aerospace innovation, make us uniquely qualified to be the final home for one of the shuttles," said Museum of Flight President and CEO Douglas King. "We are eager to hear NASA's decision."
The Museum of Flight's bid for one of the retiring orbiters has been supported by the entire Washington state Congressional delegation, the State House and Senate, and Governor Christine Gregoire. Congressman Norm Dicks, one of the effort's most enthusiastic supporters said, "We are cautiously optimistic. As a delegation, we have worked this effort as diligently and thoroughly as possible. We have our fingers crossed!"
The Museum broke ground on its new climate-controlled space gallery in June 2010 and raised the first wall of the gallery on Wednesday of this week. If the Museum is awarded a space shuttle, it will be part of an exhibit that will not only celebrate the shuttle program, but also look toward the future of space travel while serving as a learning tool to the nearly 140,000 students who participate in education programs at the Museum each year.
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