Adler Not Picked for NASA Shuttle

Chicago's consolation prize? The shuttle flight simulator

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NASA is retiring its shuttle fleet after 30 years of service to America's space program.

    The stars aren't aligned for Chicago after all.

    Adler Planetarium was passed over on Tuesday to house a retired space shuttle in a proposed glass pavilion on Northerly Island.

    Adler was one of 21 institutions across the country in the running to house one of four NASA shuttles: Discovery, Atlantis, Endeavour and Enterprise.

    "We tried not to get our hopes up too high, but we thought it was an opportunity not to be lost for the city of Chicago," said Adler Planetarium President Paul Knappenberger after the announcement.

    Knappenberger: "We Knew the Odds Were Very Long"

    [CHI] Knappenberger: "We Knew the Odds Were Very Long"
    Paul Knappenberger, the president of Chicago's Adler Planetarium, laments that the institution won't be getting a space shuttle, but says the opportunity was not one that could be missed.

    On the 30th anniversary of the first shuttle flight, NASA Administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden on Tuesday announced the shuttles' new homes in New York City, Washington D.C., California and Florida.

    The Enterprise, a test-model space shuttle, went to Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum in New York City.

    The rest were scattered across the country. Atlantis went to Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Endeavour went to the California Science Center in Los Angeles, and the Discovery went to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.

    Chicago's not the only disappointed city in the hard-fought race to house a shuttle.

    The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, was hoping for a shuttle too. The location was considered a frontrunner, in part because of the influence of former senator and astronaut John Glenn.

    Adler gets a consolation prize, though. The planetarium will house the shuttle flight simulator. Every astronaut has trained on the simulator, which is currently located in Houston.

    "We are excited. There is only one. Every astronaut trained on it and it's coming here to Chicago's lakefront," said Adler's Chairman, Bryan Cressey.

    Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel released a statement after the announcement congratulating Adler Planetarium on its efforts and being awarded the next best thing to an actual shuttle.

    "Adler is a shining example of the best our city has to offer and I am proud to see it recognized," Emanuel said.