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Home / News / Science / California Science Center’s Endeavour display begins vertical move

California Science Center’s Endeavour display begins vertical move

by City News Service
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California Science Center officials Thursday began the process of reconfiguring the space shuttle Endeavour into a planned vertical display with two rocket boosters and an external fuel tank, marking the first time such a feat will have been performed with a shuttle outside of a NASA facility.

The shuttle has been on display horizontally at the Science Center for 11 years. But construction began last year on the center’s $400 million Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, which will house the shuttle in the vertical launch position with the rocket boosters and fuel tank.

The new center is not expected to open until 2025, but Thursday marked the beginning of a six-month “Go for Stack” process. The effort began with the intricate installation of “aft skirts,” on which the solid rocket motors will be stacked to form the solid rocket boosters. After that, the effort will begin to lift the massive external fuel tank, known as ET-94, into vertical position, followed by the intricate lifting of the shuttle itself by a large crane to its new location and positioning into a 200-foot-tall vertical display.

That move will mark “space shuttle Endeavour’s final journey, from that side of the Science Center to this side of the Science Center, and will conclude early next year with Endeavour’s lift into the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center,” Jeff Rudolph, president and CEO of the California Science Center, said during a Thursday morning ceremony.

Thursday’s ceremonial event coincided with Space Exploration Day.

Due to the move, the space shuttle Endeavour will be unavailable for public viewing after Dec. 31. It will remain off-limits until the new Samuel Oschin center opens.

The 200,000-square-foot Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center in Exposition Park will nearly double the Science Center’s educational exhibition space, officials said. The building will include three multi-level galleries, themed for air, space and shuttle. The new facility will also house an events and exhibit center that will house large-scale rotating exhibitions.

Science Center officials are continuing fundraising efforts for the construction project, with about $320 million raised so far for the $400 million project.

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