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One of those shuttles belongs at Museum of Flight

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on Oct. 5, 2010 at 7:50 pm with 6 Comments »
October 5, 2010 5:52 pm

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

NASA will be passing out space shuttles in a year or two. We want one.

By “we,” we mean the Pacific Northwest, a region whose fortunes have been tied to aerospace since William Boeing launched his Model 1 seaplane in 1916.

The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field – which displays more than 80 fascinating and historically significant aircraft – is one of the nation’s great showcases of aviation. As it phases out the shuttle program, NASA is looking for homes for the Atlantis, Enterprise and Endeavour. This is a marriage made in the heavens.

The Museum of Flight would be the perfect berth for one of those monumental spacecraft. It meets all of NASA’s requirements:

• A 10,000-foot runway, long enough to land the 747 that would piggyback the shuttle to its honorable retirement.

• A grand display case – the $12 million Space Gallery, which the museum has already broken ground on.

• Proximity to a major metropolitan area – the central Puget Sound region.

• Affiliation with the Smithsonian and accreditation by the American Association of Museums.

• Potential to become a center of scientific education for K-12 children.

This last qualification bears emphasis. The Museum of Flight is already a magnet for children and youth. It is also the future location of a public academy, Aviation High School, which specializes in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – education.

Part of the Highline School District and currently located in temporary quarters, Aviation High School attracts students from many communities – and graduates 98 percent of them. The plan is to give it a permanent home on the Museum of Flight campus, right next to the museum’s gallery of historic aircraft.

It would be hardly possible to create a closer partnership between the space shuttle and STEM education.

Competition for the three surplus shuttles is intense. The Museum of Flight’s rivals include Houston’s Johnson Space Center, Florida’s Kennedy Space Center and the Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio.

The Museum of Flight isn’t a long shot, though, especially with its education component and Space Gallery. And if excitement about all things aerospace if a factor, NASA need look no farther than the greater Seattle area.

How many other claimants, after all, already have a Space Needle?

Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. hortonpeak says:

    Come on. Are you kidding? What connection does Seattle have with the space shuttle other than it rides on the back of a 747 when going from the west coat to the east coast. Or, are you looking for some “tourist” attraction much like the USS Missouri at Bremerton vice its location at Pearl Harbor – where the Missouri belongs. Boeing has a great history in aviation and the displays at Boeing Field can stand among the best in the world. Of course, most folks would never know this unless they know aviation or read the news tribune (refuse to caps) when an opportunity arises for them to ruffle their feathers (pun intended – feathers and flying) for some meaningless editorial. For everyone out there go to the Boeing Museum at Boeing Field, look at the Red Barn (if it is still there) and enjoy.

  2. hortonpeak says:

    I might add, that all three “rivals” for a shuttle have a far better argument for one than does Seattle. And, I can, I hope say this from having been to all three. Oh, by the way, this includes being at the skid strip at Kennedy on the day of the memorial service for the Challenger. Perhaps the local “media” – Tacoma and Seattle – can stop being tabloids and start being media for the benefit of all folks within their area.

  3. The Museum of Flight shouldn’t get another piece of surplus government equipment until they put the B-52G they basically have had hidden away at Paine Field properly maintained and on proper display at the Seattle museum….

  4. hortonpeak says:

    To coldone. Bravo. How about a B-17. I cannot remember but is their a B-17 on display. If so bravo, if not, why not? The B-17 is the plane that made Boeing famous in my humble opinion.

  5. navydad6 says:

    We may “want” one, but we do not “deserve” one. First off, the Smithsonian will get one. Then you have Space Centers in Florida, Texas, Alabama and California that have actually launched, recovered or were otherwise INVOLVED with the space program. To say we should get one because we our “fortunes have been tied to aerospace” pales in comparison to REAL work done at REAL space centers.

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