Later this afternoon, there are going to be a mix of very elated and very let down museum employees across the country. After months of campaigning, presenting, and making sure the public knows that they’ve tried their darndest, NASA is finally set to announce who they will be donating their space shuttles to. Among the 21 organizations desperately wanting one, there are a total of just four spacecraft up for grabs, three that have flown missions (the Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour) and one test ship that never wound up making it outside of the atmosphere, the Enterprise. The big push by museums, largely flight and space-related ones, surprising enough, has reached a fever pitch in recent days. A quick sampling finds lawmakers in Texas signing a very serious joint letter, stopping just short of demanding that they get a shuttle for Houston’s Johnson Space Center (it’s a fun read), Seattle’s Museum of Flight hosting a special site for the pitch, along with a viewing party of the announcement, and Chicago’s own Adler Planetarium, who crafted the rendering alongside this post, showing how great it would look suspended inside the museum (they’re also hosting a screening party, as we’re sure most of the museums are). It seems absurd that the Smithsonian‘s Air and Space Museum wouldn’t receive one, as most people expect, but as the Chicago Tribune reports, “the field seems wide-open” as to where the others will go. If you’d like to watch the official announcement, NASA will be steaming it from their site, starting at 1pm Eastern.
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