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Adler Planetarium makes pitch to land a space shuttle in Chicago

Architectural rendering by Gensler. (PRNewsFoto/Adler Planetarium)
The Adler Planetarium hopes to bring a Shuttle Orbiter to Chicago to inspire the next generation of explorers
NASA to announce on April 12 where retiring shuttle orbiters permanently land
CHICAGO, March 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today the Adler Planetarium released a rendering of the state-of-the-art glass pavilion and learning center it would build to house a Space Shuttle Orbiter. The Adler, one of 21 institutions across the country vying for a retired shuttle orbiter, hopes to permanently locate a shuttle along the shores of Lake Michigan to serve as a focal point for inspirational experiences for millions of people from around the world.

On Tuesday, April 12, the 30th anniversary of the first shuttle flight, NASA will publicly announce where the retired shuttles will be displayed.  

Chicago is simply the best place for a shuttle for many important reasons,” said Adler President Paul H. Knappenberger Jr., PhD.  “The Shuttle has a rich Midwest story.  So many of the people who served the shuttle program hail from, or have spent a considerable amount of time in, Chicago and the Midwest – from astronauts to technicians and engineers.  Placing a shuttle orbiter in Chicago will bring unparalleled visibility to America’s accomplishments in space exploration.  As a global city and the Midwest’s largest metropolitan area, Chicago is positioned to provide access to the shuttle for millions of people each year.”
Chicago and the Adler Planetarium would provide a NASA experience like none other in the world.  The architectural rendering by Gensler envisions a stunning new space exploration pavilion to house the shuttle. According to Knappenberger, “In one direction, the shuttle would be framed looking out over Lake Michigan, and in the other direction, it would face Chicago‘s beautiful skyline.”    
The Adler, a world-class science museum with more than 80 years experience educating and inspiring new generations of explorers, has a strong, historic partnership with NASA.  The lead Education and Public Outreach (EPO) partner on numerous NASA missions, the Adler is uniquely qualified to link the iconic shuttle with proven science learning experiences.
The Adler’s bid for one of the orbiter shuttles is strongly supported by the museum’s Board of Trustees, which includes astronaut Jim Lovell, a veteran of several NASA missions including Apollo 13.
“Very few people will ever have the opportunity to experience what it is like to be in space.  I was among the lucky few to see our Universe in its magnificent glory, and it was simply and truly amazing,” said Capt. James A. Lovell, Jr. ” We have a tremendous learning opportunity in these shuttle orbiters.  I believe the Adler Planetarium is the best equipped science museum to inspire today’s young people and ignite a life-long enthusiasm for learning. I hope Chicago gets the shuttle: and if we do, I’ll fly it here myself!”
About the Adler
The Adler Planetarium – America’s First Planetarium – was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler.  A recognized leader in public learning, the Adler inspires young people – particularly women and minorities – to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. Scientists, historians and educators at the museum inspire the next generation of explorers.  Learn more at
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She reports on design and technical design, production and project management, industry trends and company culture. From 2005-2020 she ran communications and publications for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA and publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association, and has contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a BFA from Pratt Institute. She has lived in Detroit, New York, Oakland, and now Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts community.

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