Museum of Flight counting down to shuttle announcement

Museum of Flight counting down to shuttle announcement »Play Video
SEATTLE -- The city will learn Tuesday morning whether a space shuttle will soon call it home.

The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field is in a pitched battle with nearly two dozen museums around the nation for the rights to host a retiring spaceship. And it is eager to roll out the welcome mat.

There are four shuttles: Atlantis, Discovery, Endeavor and Enterprise, which was a prototype orbiter; it never made it into space.

The Discovery is already spoken for. It's going to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. That's where the Enterprise currently sits, but it will soon go to a new home. And that new home could be the Space Shuttle Gallery under construction at the Museum of Flight.

The $12 million building is one of the key components to the museum's presentation to NASA, along with being a major, accredited museum.. having a strong education program and proximity to an airport, so a Boeing 747 can deliver the shuttle.

The museum has long been a big hit, bringing in some 400,000 people every year. But putting a space shuttle back in that building nearly guarantees even more paying customers.

"We think if the decision gets made on the merits, we'll have a shuttle here. We know we're qualified. We've met all the requirements that they set, and we're really optimistic," said Museum of Flight President Doug King.

But Seattle has stiff competition. The Kennedy Space Center in Florida is a front-runner. It's where all the shuttles have been launched.

The Johnson Space Center in Houston is a strong contender as the home of Mission Control.

The Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, which has John Glenn's endorsement, is another hot contender.

In New York City, there's the well-established Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum..

And in Los Angeles, the California Science Center.

Spreading the shuttles out across the nation could come into play.

The winning museums get plenty of bragging rights..

Along with writing a check for nearly $30 million for each shuttle.

NASA will make the shuttle announcement from the Kennedy Space Center at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The Museum of Flight is hosting a viewing party.