Like 21 other institutions, Chicago’s very own Adler Planetarium is hoping to be one of the chosen ones that will have the privilege of housing a Space Shuttle Orbiter.  While no one knows exactly which cities will be selected, The Adler Planetarium released a rendering of the state-of-the-art glass pavilion and learning center it would build to house one if given the opportunity. The Adler 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!”

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