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Space Shuttles heading to major U.S. museums

by Steven Mostyn - Jan 25 2012, 12:36

Image: Matthew Simantov/Flickr.

NASA’s groundbreaking fleet of space shuttles may be gone—as in, they have officially moved into retirement—but, thanks to a number of museums across the United States, they’ll never be forgotten.

Case in point, the famed Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is currently preparing to beef up its tourist appeal by adding the space shuttle Discovery to its vast display of iconic vehicles.

Due to arrive in April, Discovery will apparently perform a flyover pass above the nation’s capital atop a cradling Boeing 747, after which it will land at Dulles International and be transported to the waiting Udvar-Hazy facility in Virginia.

According to an official Smithsonian spokeswoman, Discovery is expected to be formally welcomed into its final resting place on April 19.

Similarly, the space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to become a display piece at the California Science Center in Los Angeles during the latter half of 2012, while Atlantis will make the short trip to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center in Florida.

In related, but slightly less glamorous, news, visitors to Seattle’s Museum of Flight will be able to view the plywood space shuttle (or Full Fuselage Trainer) from June of this year.

Crafted in the 1970s, the invaluable ground-based Full Fuselage mockup was used by NASA astronauts to hone their mission skills ahead of strapping themselves into the real thing.

Although perhaps not as attractive as the real space shuttles from an authenticity point of view, the Full Fuselage Trainer holds one trump card over the actual fleet insofar as visitors will be allowed aboard to get a feel of the craft’s interior. 

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