While the space shuttle program is dead and gone, its memory lives on in American hearts and minds. It's a symbol of the glory days of U.S. space travel, when our nation had the world's largest stake in what lies beyond our own atmosphere. Now, thanks to a new exhibit at the National Museum of the Unites States Air Force, visitors will be able to step back in time inside a life-sized space shuttle simulator.
The installation is the centerpiece of the USAF museum's new building, currently under construction. It will feature a full-scale, 60-foot-long payload bay, as well as a mid-deck and flight deck. There's even a real satellite in the payload bay. Stairways that lead visitors into the shuttle exhibit are designed to resemble the real shuttle's wings. The exhibit will also include a Crew Compartment Trainer, which trained astronauts for all but three of the shuttle program's 135 missions.
The Space Shuttle exhibit is slated to open February 26th at the National Museum of the Unites States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. If you never had a chance to see one of these majestic space planes in person, the exhibit is your best chance you've got to relive the glory days of U.S. space travel from the inside out. Of course, the days of the space plane are hardly over, with everyone from Virgin Galactic to DARPA hoping to wing their way back into orbit someday very soon, so maybe those glory days aren't really in the past after all.