DAYTON, Ohio — The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is preparing a former Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer to serve as a new exhibit.
The trainer (CCT-1) was used for years at the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston. It is no longer needed now that the Space Shuttle program has wrapped up and the shuttles themselves have been shipped to various museums to serve as exhibits.
Throughout the entirety of the Space Shuttle program, astronauts trained in the module before launching off into space. The Air Force museum received the trainer on Aug. 22; a payload bay is planned to be built behind the module and is expected to be completed by late 2013.
“CCT-1 will be a very popular exhibit and provide exciting hands-on educational opportunities for children and adults of all ages,” Museum Director Lt. Gen. Jack Hudson, retired, said in an Air Force article.
The museum said the CCT-1 trainer will be part of a larger space exhibit to be built in a planned fourth building; the exhibit will also include a Titan IV space launch vehicle and other NASA artifacts. The museum already has Mercury, Gemini and Apollo items on display, including the Apollo 15 command module.
“I’ll always remember the space shuttle as the vehicle that took me to space, but I always say that the second-best thing about going to space is coming back and telling people about it,” the Air Force quoted Astronaut Mike Foreman as saying. “Telling the story and sharing the experience with others by adding this trainer to the Air Force museum will allow people to see and understand more of what we experienced.”
NASA, which retired the space shuttle fleet last year, has given its fleet of space shuttles and related test vehicles to various museums across the country, including Kennedy Space Center (Atlantis), the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex in New York (Enterprise) and Johnson Space Center (Space Shuttle Explorer, a replica).
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright Patterson Air Force Base is the oldest – and largest – museum of military aircraft. The museum features more than 400 aircraft and 17 acres of indoor exhibit space.
The museum’s exhibits include aircraft from every era in the 20th century, starting with the earliest aircraft from the earliest 20th century. The museum also claims to have the only permanent public exhibit of a B-2 stealth bomber in the world.