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National Air and Space Museum
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center


The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum is building the new Steven F. Udvar-Hazy (pronounced OOD-var HAH-zee) Center, a second facility for the display and preservation of its collection of historic aviation and space artifacts. The center is named for International Lease Finance Corp. founder and Chief Executive Officer Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, who contributed $65 million for the facility. With the addition of the Udvar-Hazy Center, the National Air and Space Museum will be able to display more history, science and technology of flight.


The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center will provide adequate space and resources for the National Air and Space Museum to continue its congressional mandate:

"To memorialize the national development of aviation and space flight; collect, preserve and display aeronautical and space flight equipment of historical interest and significance."



The Udvar-Hazy Center will be located at Washington Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia.

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The initial phase of the Udvar-Hazy Center will open in December 2003, in time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight by the Wright brothers. It will include the aviation hangar, observation tower, IMAX theater, classrooms, and food court. The James S. McDonnell Space Hangar will be completed by opening day with the Space Shuttle Enterprise installed and visible. The hangar will not be accessible to the public for several months as Enterprise undergoes refurbishment and other artifacts are installed.


Estimated annual attendance will be 3 million visitors.


Some 200 aircraft and 135 large space artifacts will ultimately be on display at the center. Highlights include:

  • Space Shuttle Enterprise
  • SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance plane
  • Dash 80 prototype of the Boeing 707
  • F-4 Phantom
  • B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay

Hellmuth, Obata + Kassebaum (HOK), a full-service international architecture firm, was commissioned to design the Udvar-Hazy Center. The entire center will eventually be approximately 760,000 square feet. The aviation hangar will contain three levels of aircraft, two levels suspended from the ceiling and a third positioned on the floor. For visitors to experience the sensation of soaring along with the aircraft and to study the artifacts in greater detail, elevated walkways will run parallel to the two tiers of the suspended aircraft.


Hensel Phelps Construction Co., an employee-owned company known for a wide range of highly visible construction projects, was awarded the $125 million building contract for the initial phase of the Udvar-Hazy Center. An additional $16 million in construction was added to the contract to include the space hangar and extensions on the aviation hangar. Hensel Phelps’ Mid-Atlantic regional office is located in Chantilly, Va.


The total cost for the project – for design, site infrastructure, construction, move-in and start-up – is approximately $311 million. Congress has mandated that only non-federal funds are to be used in the construction of the center. The Commonwealth of Virginia has generously pledged to provide the site infrastructure and roadway improvements.