SEATTLE, July 23, 2009--The Museum of Flight drives to downtown Seattle on July 25 with a new float in the Seafair Torchlight Parade. With a theme of "Explorers Columbia," the float features the Space Shuttle Columbia and the 18th century sailing ship Columbia Rediviva. A large model of Earth rotates in the center. In 1981 the Shuttle Columbia was the first Shuttle to orbit the planet, and in 1790 the Columbia Rediviva became the first American ship to circumnavigate the world. Accompanying the float will be Museum volunteers costumed as astronauts and sailors.
The sailing ship Columbia was built in Massachusetts in 1773. Columbia was rebuilt in 1787 and Rediviva--Latin for revived--was added to the name. The Columbia River was named in the ship's honor when the Columbia Rediviva entered the river during a trip to the Pacific Northwest in 1792. Gray's Harbor is named after the ship's captain, Robert Gray.
The Space Shuttle Columbia was named after the Columbia Rediviva. On April 12, 1981, Columbia became the first Space Shuttle launched into orbit. Gemini and Apollo programs veteran John Young commanded the mission--his fifth space flight--with pilot Robert Crippen on his first trip to space. In all, Space Shuttle Columbia flew 28 missions and orbited Earth 4,808 times.
One of Young's Apollo 10 space suits is on temporary display at the Museum of Flight during the months of July and August.
The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5 (on Boeing Field between downtown Seattle and SeaTac Airport.) The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $13 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for active military, $7.50 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit www.museumofflight.org