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Big push to land space shuttle for Intrepid museum

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) will call on NASA on Monday to bring one of its retired space shuttles to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum.

The museum is among 25 nationwide vying for one of three shuttles, and officials will argue that its economic impact on the city could reach $100 million a year, said Bill White, president of the Intrepid museum.

“The benefit of bringing this to New York is extraordinary,” White said Sunday. “These are precious national icons.”

White said he predicts 1 million visitors a year.

Officials from NASA did not return phone calls Sunday seeking comment, but White said he has been told by the agency that the Intrepid is one of a handful of sites still in competition to get the Discovery, Endeavor or Atlantis shuttles.

There is no firm timetable but if the museum is awarded a shuttle, it could be ready for display by July 2011. White said it would cost $30 to $40 million to bring it to New York and exhibit it in its own pavilion on the West Side pier where the aircraft carrier is moored.

The museum has collected 16,000 signatures for an online petition.

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