SEATTLE - The latest addition to the Musuem of Flight is now offically open to the public. The Space Shuttle Trainer is set up as an interactice exhibit in its own special building at the Museum.
"It took two years and a massive effort, but we finally have a Space Shuttle Trainer of our own, " saID Museum of Flight Marketing Director Mike Bush.
It was a long time coming. The museum first put in a bid for one of the retiring official Space Shuttles a few years ago. It did not win. Instead it was given the consolation prize of the Space Shuttle Trainer.
"This may well be an even better get, since it's a trainer, people can actually walk through it, touch it and see how the astronauts trained and lived on it," said Bush.
The full size shuttle mockup was used for three decades by more than 350 astronauts. It was NASA's only full length shuttle trainer, built in 1974 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
The Trainer Shuttle was carefully taken apart, then reassembled in its new home at the Charles Simonyi Space Gallery at the Museum of Flight. Made almost entirely out of plywood, it stands 47 feet high , is 120 feet long and 19 feet wide.
Guests can access the payload bay, the crew compartment and the flight deck.
"Museum of Flight is about education, and it doesn't get better than this. With a hands on look at a Space Station Trainer, we hope we can inspire kids to further explore space and maybe become astronauts themselves," said Bush.
The opening ceremonies included Governor Christine Gregoire, as well as former astronauts Nick Patrick and Wendy Lawrence. Ticket prices are $17.