Durbin, Kirk Urge NASA to Select Adler Planetarium for Space Shuttle Orbiter
Adler best qualified to take full advantage of educational benefits Orbiter provides
[WASHINGTON D.C.] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) are urging the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to select Adler Planetarium for one of three retired space shuttle orbiters for public exhibition.
“The Adler Planetarium is America’s first Planetarium and a world-renowned science museum located on the shorelines of Lake Michigan. More than five million guests are welcomed at Museum Campus each year, and Chicago Museums create an annual economic impact of $700 million,” wrote Durbin and Kirk. “The Planetarium is located in the heart of Chicago, a city that boasts an annual 45 million visitors. Benefitting from the prolific Museum Campus attendance and strong Chicago tourism industry, the Orbiter would experience unmatched visibility at the Adler Planetarium.”
[Text of the letter below]
March 17, 2011
General Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
300 E Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20546
Dear General Bolden:
We are writing to strongly encourage your consideration of the Adler Planetarium’s bid to acquire one of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Shuttle Orbiters for public exhibition. We are confident that the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois, would be a worthy recipient of an Orbiter, given its strong fundraising capabilities, leadership in education and science, and high attendance rates.
The Adler Planetarium is America’s first Planetarium and a world-renowned science museum located on the shorelines of Lake Michigan. More than five million guests are welcomed at Museum Campus each year, and Chicago museums create an annual economic impact of $700 million. The Planetarium is located in the heart of Chicago, a city that boasts an annual 45 million visitors. Benefitting from the prolific Museum Campus attendance and strong Chicago tourism industry, the Orbiter would experience unmatched visibility at the Adler Planetarium.
Museum, business and civic leaders, led by Mayor Daley, Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and national hero and space pioneer Captain James A. Lovell, have joined together to advocate for the acquisition and location of this NASA asset in the heart of the Midwest. Other premier Chicago cultural institutions have enjoyed similar community support for large-scale capital campaigns undertaken within the past five years. The Chicago community has repeatedly proven its fundraising prowess with successful campaigns in the millions of dollars.
Adler Planetarium, with its international reputation as a leading science museum, is also perhaps best qualified to take full advantage of the educational and outreach benefits the Orbiter will provide. For decades, the institution has been inspiring people to pursue careers in math and science. The Planetarium already serves more than 60,000 school children annually and has created 22 educational exhibitions and multiple interactive educational curriculums for teachers to use within their classrooms. Their educational programs reach thousands of underprivileged youth in the Chicagoland area every year, providing them with an exciting introduction to the world of science. NASA has recognized this educational expertise with its numerous educational and outreach partnerships with the Planetarium. Adler Planetarium is the lead Education and Public Outreach institution for the NASA Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission and is a member of two new NASA Science Education and Public Outreach Forums. With this wealth of experience, Adler plans to create interactive and online educational programs to share the history, achievements and contributions of the U.S. Space Shuttle program to inspire the next generation of explorers.
If selected to house the Orbiter, Adler will construct a LEED-certified facility to highlight the United States’ unparalleled achievements in space exploration. This new building will serve as both the host of a dramatic Orbiter exhibition and an additional education facility to accommodate the educational programs that are at the heart of Adler’s mission.
We believe NASA, the Space Shuttle Orbiters and the American public will be best served by the leading education programs and high visibility that the Adler Planetarium and City of Chicago offer. We join the Chicagoland community in strong support of Adler Planetarium’s efforts to acquire a critical piece of our nation’s history. Thank you for your consideration.
Richard J. Durbin Mark Kirk
United States Senator United States Senator
Previous Article Next Article