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NASA Shuttles: Adler Planetarium Passed Over For Retired Spacecraft

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NASA's three remaining space shuttles will go to Cape Canaveral, Los Angeles and suburban Washington when the program ends this summer, the space agency said Tuesday.

The announcement came on the 30th anniversary of the first space shuttle flight and the 50th anniversary of man's first journey into space.

Shuttle Atlantis will stay in Cape Canaveral at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, just miles from the pair of launch pads where it was shot into space. Endeavour is headed to the California Science Center, miles from the plant where the shuttle was built; and Discovery's new home will be the Smithsonian Institution's branch in northern Virginia.

The Smithsonian is giving up the prototype Enterprise, which NASA said Tuesday will now go to New York City's Intrepid museum. Enterprise was used for test flights in the 1970s.

Notably absent from that list is Chicago's Adler Planetarium, one of a number of institutions around the country that had put in a bid. The planetarium had designed a dramatic glass pavilion which would display the shuttle, a move that raised the museum's profile in the eyes of some observers, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Instead, the planetarium will receive the shuttle flight simulator for display.

Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel issued a statement about the decision:

"Congratulations to Adler Planetarium for being awarded a NASA shuttle flight simulator. Adler is a shining example of the best our city has to offer and I am proud to see it recognized for the contributions it makes to both the people of our city and to our nation. This flight simulator bolsters Adler's mission to spark the imaginations of future generations. This month marks the thirty-year anniversary of the first shuttle spaceflight. Just ten years earlier that had been an unthinkable feat. As we celebrate Adler's award today, we are reminded of our remarkable history and inspired to achieve new heights."

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