LOS ANGELES, Jan. 15, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The California Science Center reached another major milestone on Saturday January 13 toward its future display of space shuttle Endeavour in ready-to-launch configuration with the completed mating of the massive External Tank, ET-94, to the Solid Rocket Boosters. Beginning Thursday January 11 around 8 pm and officially wrapping at 11:05 am on Saturday, work lasted approximately 26 hours to complete the lift and mating, not including pauses for optimal weather and to give crews a chance to rest during the day on Friday. The largest component of the stack, ET-94 weighs 65,000 lbs., stands 154 feet top-to-bottom, has a diameter of 27.5 feet, and is the last remaining flight-qualified External Tank in existence. These enormous, orange-colored External Tanks carried the propellants for the Orbiters during launch. They were also the only component of a space shuttle system that were not reused.
ET-94’s installation is the penultimate phase in the unprecedented Go for Stack process to create the world’s only authentic, ready-to-launch space shuttle system display. The final step will be the move, lift, and mating of Endeavour itself later on this month.
Preparations to move Endeavour are underway and a major step will take place in the second half of January, when Endeavour is moved from its current location in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion to Exposition Park’s South Lawn between the Natural History Museum and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It is anticipated that at the end of January, the 122-foot-long Orbiter will make its final trek across Exposition Park to the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center construction site and a few days later, be lifted into the partially constructed building by a 450-foot crane. This monumental and technically challenging process has never-before been accomplished outside of a NASA or Air Force facility.
When fully installed, the space shuttle stack will tower 200-feet tall and include the Orbiter Endeavour, two Solid Rocket Boosters, and ET-94. Construction of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, which began in 2022, will then continue around the 20-story display.
“With the mating of ET-94 to the Solid Rocket Boosters, we have successfully completed a giant undertaking and the largest part of the space shuttle stack. The fully-assembled space shuttle system will be the star attraction of the California Science Center’s future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, where its ultimate mission will be to inspire future generations of scientists, engineers and explorers,” stated Jeffrey Rudolph, the President and CEO of the California Science Center. “With this penultimate step in Go for Stack, heartfelt appreciation goes out to our remarkable team whose dedication has made every stage of this complex and unprecedented operation a reality.”
The roughly six-month Go for Stack process began in July 2023 with the installation of the base of the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), the Aft Skirts. Two Solid Rocket Motors, the second part of the SRBs, were installed in November, followed by the Forward Assemblies, the top of the Boosters, in early December. Following the move and lift of the External Tank, ET-94, space shuttle Endeavour will make its final journey across Exposition Park and be lifted into place. The final step is the intricate mating of the Orbiter with the rest of the space shuttle stack.
The future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center is a 200,000-square-foot expansion that will double the Science Center’s educational exhibition space, adding an impressive collection of 100 authentic artifacts integrated with 100 new hands-on exhibits. Guests of all ages will be encouraged to investigate scientific and engineering principles of atmospheric flight and the exploration of the universe in three major galleries—the Korean Air Aviation Gallery, the Samuel Oschin Shuttle Gallery, and the Kent Kresa Space Gallery. As the third phase of the California Science Center’s three-phase, three-decade master plan to develop one of the world’s leading science learning centers, the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will provide a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity for the Los Angeles community and guests from around the globe. Building construction is underway with artifact and exhibit installations to follow.
For more information, visit californiasciencecenter.org/goforstack.
About the EndeavourLA Campaign
A project of this scope and scale requires the visionary leadership of the philanthropic community, and the support of the broader public. EndeavourLA is the California Science Center Foundation’s $400 million fundraising campaign that has enabled the acquisition and temporary display of space shuttle Endeavour and supports our plans to build the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center and sustain ongoing exhibits, programs, and operations. The project’s lead donors are the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation and the State of California, joined by principal donors Korean Air and the Kresa Family Foundation, along with numerous individuals, foundations, and corporate supporters.
The California Science Center Foundation is actively fundraising to complete this ambitious project with more than $350 million raised toward the $400 million EndeavourLA Campaign goal. Everyone can help realize this exciting vision for the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, and donations at any level are welcomed. To contribute or learn more, go to EndeavourLA.org.
About the California Science Center
The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults, and children can explore the wonders of science through hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs, and large-format movies. Our mission is to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people’s lives.
The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive. The Science Center is open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. General admission is free. Please check the Science Center website for updates at CaliforniaScienceCenter.org.
Kristina Kurasz Cutting
| California Science Center
[email protected] | (213) 744-7446
| Polskin Arts
[email protected] | (310) 552-4117
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SOURCE California Science Center Foundation