New space shuttle exhibit opens at Air Force museum

DAYTON, Ohio — National Museum of the U.S. Air Force visitors will be cleared for liftoff when the museum’s new Space Shuttle Exhibit opens to the public on Feb. 26.

The exhibit, which features NASA’s first Crew Compartment Trainer, allows visitors to experience the size and shape of an actual space shuttle orbiter by entering the payload bay and looking into the flight deck and mid-deck levels.

Following the arrival of the Crew Compartment trainer in summer 2012, work began on the design and construction of a full-scale representation of a NASA shuttle payload bay, engine, and tail sections, along with a 60-seat dedicated educational area or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Learning Node, by Display Dynamics of Clayton, Ohio.

These portions of the exhibit, along with visitor observation and access structures, have been completed and the Teal Ruby satellite has been placed inside the payload bay. In addition, space-related videos will be available for viewing in the STEM Learning Node (when it is not in use for other scheduled programs).

Future plans call for the museum to continue populating the exhibit with additional artifacts such as space suits and provide interpretive information about topics such as astronauts, space science, living in space, and the Air Force’s role in space. Eventually, the exhibit will be moved to a new Space Gallery in the museum’s fourth building as part of a multi-phase, long-term expansion plan to house the museum’s growing space collection, as well as the Presidential Aircraft Gallery, Research & Development Gallery and Global Reach Gallery.

A 360° virtual tour of the new exhibit is available here.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. It is free to the public and features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 17 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year more than 1 million visitors from around the world come to the museum. For more information: NationalMuseum.af.mil 

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