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USAF Museum in line to get shuttle exhibit

Published: Monday, February 27, 2012 @ 5:00 PM
Updated: Monday, February 27, 2012 @ 5:00 PM

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, which lost out in a competition last year to receive one of the retiring space orbiters, will ultimately wind up with a visually similar shuttle exhibit as the result of a separate contribution from NASA.

This July, the museum expects to receive a crew compartment trainer that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration used for years to train shuttle orbiter crews at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. It was used to train all Air Force shuttle astronauts in operation of orbiter systems and controls, museum officials said Monday.

The trainer, essentially the nose and cockpit section of the orbiter, includes a flight deck and mid-deck, and panels, seats and lights visible to and used by the flight crew.

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Museum personnel plan to build a full-scale, mock-up of the payload bay and tail section to complement the trainer and create a full-sized orbiter exhibit for museum visitors. Plans also call for interactive displays and exhibits to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs.

“It will allow the public to have an up-close and personal look into the cockpit and mid-deck areas of a shuttle and learn how astronauts trained for their missions,” said museum director Jack Hudson, a retired Air Force lieutenant general.