Officials of Seattle’s Museum of Flight will receive the “keys” to Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer (FFT) at a ceremony tomorrow at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. Museum President and CEO Doug King will be in attendance along with NASA officials.
According to a news release from the museum:
The ceremony will include an official signing of the Space Act Agreement that will transfer ownership of the trainer, which includes both a crew cockpit and shuttle cargo bay area, and was used to familiarize astronauts with shuttle cockpit controls and and emergency exit procedures over the life of the Space Shuttle Program.
The museum will accept responsibility for the Full Fuselage Trainer, and its transportation to Seattle. By donating Johnson Space Center’s shuttle training resources to outside partners, NASA hopes to find areas of common interest that will foster new technologies that improve life here on Earth, and pave the way for future human exploration in space.
The museum staged an aggressive campaign to bring one of the retired space shuttles to Seattle, and built the $12 million, 15,500 square-foot Charles Simonyi Space Gallery as part of that effort. However NASA announced in April that the shuttles would go to New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and the Kennedy Space Center. The Museum of Flight received the Full Fuselage Trainer as something of a consolation prize. While it doesn’t have the cachet of a vehicle that actually has flown in space, the FFT does have some upside, as museum visitors will actually be able to go inside it and explore.
The Simonyi Gallery opened in December and has a number of its namesake’s artifacts on display. Exhibits will soon include the actual Soyuz capsule that brought the billionaire space tourist home from the International Space Station. Museum officials expect the FFT to be in town and on display this summer.