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Home / ET-94

Science Centers readies for final phase of shuttle display

The California Science Center announced Monday it will enter its next and final phase in the intricate process of assembling an upright, launch-ready display of the space shuttle Endeavour, after recently securing the external tank as part of the process.

On Saturday, officials said the center completed lifting and mating the external tank, known as ET-94, to the solid rocket boosters. The work lasted about 26 hours, not including pauses for breaks in weather and to give crews a chance to rest.

The largest component of the stack, ET-94 weighs 65,000 pounds, stands 154 feet top-to-bottom, has a diameter of 27.5 feet and it is the last remaining flight-qualified external tank in existence.

ET-94’s installation is the penultimate phase in the “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 Endeavor itself later this month.

“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,” Jeffrey Rudolph, president and CEO of the California Science Center, said in a statement.

Rudolph also shared a heartfelt appreciation to the center’s team whose dedication has made every stage of the operation a reality.

The 200-foot-high display will be the centerpiece of the under- construction Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. Rudolph added that the display’s “ultimate mission will be to inspire future generations of scientists, engineers and explorers.”

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 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.

According to the California Science Center, this “monumental and technically challenging” process has never-before been accomplished outside of a NASA or Air Force facility.

The shuttle launch display will be the centerpiece of the 200,000-square-foot Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, which will nearly double the Science Center’s educational exhibition space. 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.

An official opening date for the new $400 million center has not yet been announced.

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