• Museum of Flight marks arrival of Shuttle Trainer pieces


    SEATTLE - The Museum of Flight began unpacking the first pieces of a Shuttle Trainer at a news conference Tuesday morning.


    One of three NASA Shuttle Trainer engine bells was unpacked, marking the arrival of the first portion of the Full Fuselage Shuttle Trainer which will be housed permanently in the museum’s Charles Simonyi Space Gallery.


    An engine bell is a cone-shaped engine shield at the base of the shuttle.


    The three  bells were packed up from Houston in huge boxes and shipped to Seattle.


    Over the next five months, pieces from the full scale trainer will be assembled.


    Museum of Flight President and CEO Doug King said Tuesday is an exciting day for people who love space travel.


    Also Tuesday, the oldest shuttle orbiter, the Discovery, lifted off from Cape Canaveral, heading for display at the Smithsonian.


    It took off at daybreak aboard one of NASA's Boeing 747 transporters.


    The Museum of Flight was not chosen as a site to house one of the retired shuttles, but instead got the Shuttle Trainer unit which will allow for visitor interaction.


    The museum is going to keep the new Charles Simonyi Space Gallery open to the public as they reconstruct the Shuttle Trainer.


    The shuttle trainier's cargo bay is scheduled to arrive mid-June.

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