As the era of the space shuttle nears its end, the Seattle Museum of Flight is gearing up to snare one of the four remaining shuttle craft.
Its chances, we're told by Bonnie Dunbar, astronaut and former director of the Museum of Flight, are pretty good.
But just to help the cause along, Dunbar came to the Tri-Cities recently to encourage signatures on a petition in support of bringing one of the large spacecraft to Washington.
She now is executive director of Wings Over Washington, an affiliate of the Museum of Flight.
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To even vie for a retiring shuttle the museum had to build an additional wing on the museum that will open in August.
Money also will be needed for transporting whichever ship the museum can get.
That's no small task, but it works in Seattle's favor.
The shuttles, it turns out, can't be disassembled.
It's those ceramic plates that constitute much of its skin, Dunbar told us.
They are attached by a special glue, to a special frame, and when one starts trying to take it apart, it's a lot like opening an egg. The first try you make at it creates an awful mess.
The result is that only a few of the dozens of places that would like to have a retired shuttle have the facilities required for delivery.
No. 1, without question, is the Smithsonian Institution's own space and flight museum.
It, in the arcane world of museum terminology, has dibs on whichever one it wants.
Dunbar thinks her museum should be No. 2.
So do we.
A shuttle could be delivered atop a special Boeing 747 transfer vehicle to the runway near the Museum of Flight and easily moved to its permanent home.
(Well, "easily" is an entirely different concept when sitting at a computer screen in Kennewick than in getting a 122-foot-long, 80-foot-wide, 60-foot tall, 172,000-pound vehicle down from on top of a 747 in Seattle.)
This is the program's last year of operations.
The decision time is near at hand for the location of the remaining shuttles.
If you'd like to help out Seattle, just type "seattle museum of flight" into your computer browser and follow the well-marked trail that will open before you.
With any luck (and maybe your help) Tri-Citians will have another reason soon to visit the biggest little city in the state.