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Adler Hopes Pavilion Plan Will Help It Acquire Retired Shuttle

By Anna Deem in News on Mar 19, 2011 8:00PM

Concept drawing courtesy of the Adler Planetarium.
On Thursday, Adler Planetarium announced plans for a new lakefront glass pavilion that they intend to build if they are able to acquire one of the soon-to-be-retired space shuttles. Adler is just one of 20 museums that are currently bidding on Endeavour and Atlantis, the two shuttles that are up for grabs. NASA will reveal which two museums will get each shuttle on April 12, a day that marks the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle flight. Discovery--the oldest shuttle--was already promised by NASA to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.

"Chicago is the best place in the Middle West for a shuttle," said Adler President Paul Knappenberger to the Chicago Tribune, after he unveiled the concept drawing for the glass pavilion, which would be built on a parking lot west of the planetarium and would be home to the shuttle and other exhibits.

Adler's proposal to NASA was assisted by a space shuttle advisory committee, headed by Chicagoan and Apollo 13 astronaut, James Lovell. "The proposal points out that there is no strong Midwest NASA presence, and that Chicago is the largest metropolitan area in the Midwest, attracting more than 45 million tourists annually," Knappenberger said to the Tribune. "NASA would acquire the highest possible visibility in the region by locating a shuttle here."