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Chicago museum in bid for space shuttles

March 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM
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CHICAGO, March 18 (UPI) -- Chicago's Adler Planetarium has joined the bidding war to secure one of NASA's space shuttles for display when the fleet is retired, officials say.

Planetarium officials announced plans for a dramatic lakefront glass pavilion they said would be built if the museum obtains one of the soon-to-be-retired space shuttles, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday.

The Adler is competing with 20 other museums to obtain one of two orbiters up for grabs, Endeavour and Atlantis.

NASA has promised the oldest shuttle, Discovery, to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

NASA says it will make an announcement on which two museums will get the other two shuttles on April 12, the 30th anniversary of the first shuttle space flight.

"Chicago is the best place in the Middle West for a shuttle," Adler President Paul Knappenberger said while displaying a concept drawing of the building Adler would build on a parking lot west of the planetarium to house a shuttle and related exhibits.

A space shuttle advisory committee headed by Chicago-area resident and Apollo 13 astronaut James Lovell helped Adler with its proposal, the Tribune reported.

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