Annexing Air And Space At Dulles

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The Smithsonian Institution's annex to the National Air and Space Museum, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, is nearly 75 percent finished and is scheduled to open December 2003, at Washington Dulles International Airport, 100 years after the Wright brothers' first powered flight. Seventy denizens installed for the opening will include a Lockheed SR-71, the Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise, Federal Express' first carrier, a Curtiss JN-4D Jenny ... and the Enola Gay (which currently exists in 52 separate pieces). By 2007, the museum expects to hangar 200 aircraft, with one Concorde promised upon its retirement from Air France. Visitors will have access to their own 164-foot tower compete with audio feed of the actual goings-on at Dulles' real tower -- that, and an IMAX theater to project digital and celluloid reality. Some 3.5 million visitors are expected to make the pilgrimage each year. Private donors have contributed roughly two-thirds of the project's $311 million cost, including a $66 million donation from Udvar-Hazy, jet-leasing magnate and av-phile.