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Endeavour’s new house


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Nearly six months after Endeavour reached for the stars one last time for its “Go For Stack” mission, the California Science Center is giving visitors a first look at what’s to come for the space shuttle’s new permanent home in Exposition Park.

Why it matters: You can catch a sneak peek of some of the artifacts and exhibits at the “Work in Progress” gallery while construction is expected to continue on the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center for about another year.

Why now: Museum officials said crews are more than halfway done constructing the 200,000 square-foot building.

The backstory: The walls are covered with distinct details about the future of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, but the gallery also brings you back to 2012, when Endeavour made its final flight over California.

What’s next: “We’ll bring other things in so that this gallery, during the next months, will have a changing set of artifacts in it, and every time you come you might see different things,” Jeffrey Rudolph, the president and CEO of the California Science Center, told LAist.

Go deeper: Learn more about the “Go For Stack” mission at the California Science Center.

Nearly six months after Endeavour reached for the stars one last time for its “Go For Stack” mission, the California Science Center is giving visitors a first look at what’s to come for the space shuttle’s new permanent home in Exposition Park.

You can catch a sneak peek of some of the artifacts and exhibits at the “Work in Progress” gallery while construction is expected to continue on the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center for about another year. Museum officials said crews are more than halfway done constructing the 200,000 square-foot building.

Jeffrey Rudolph, the president and CEO of the California Science Center, told LAist that the Electron rocket, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, and some of the other objects currently on display may also be moved into the new building sooner than later.

“We’ll bring other things in so that this gallery, during the next months, will have a changing set of artifacts in it, and every time you come you might see different things,” Rudolph said.

The interior of a museum gallery with several framed photos displayed and well-lit on the wall. A large bright-orange diamond street sign with black text reads "Shuttle Xing"

“Mission 26: The Big Endeavour” series includes more than 80 photos of the space shuttle’s final flight over California in the Work in Progress Gallery.

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Makenna Sievertson

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LAist

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Walking through the ‘Work in Progress’

As you enter the gallery, you’re immediately met with a Dragon cargo spacecraft that helped carry people and supplies to and from the International Space Station.

It’s the first time this particular spacecraft, which was the first to reach orbit three times and has spent about 99 days in space, has ever been on display.

The dirty and charred backside of a large spacecraft on display in a dark, large room. Several colorful rendered images are displayed on the wall behind it.

The back of the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, charred by the reentry into earth’s atmosphere from its missions to the International Space Station.

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Makenna Sievertson

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LAist

)

Jessica Jensen, the vice president of customer operations and integration at SpaceX who leads their NASA and national security missions, told LAist that this Dragon was built in Hawthorne, and that’s one of the reasons the company wanted to donate it to the gallery.

“It’s so cool for kids or families to be able to see, hey, you live in Los Angeles, you can come be a part of this,” she said. “Whether you’re a designer, you’re an analyst, you’re a technician, you’re a welder — we need all types of people to be able to make these programs successful, and it’s right here, basically in our neighborhood.”

You can’t miss the nearly 60-foot-long Electron rocket that’s lying down near the ground towards the middle of the gallery space.

A close-up of the silver metal pieces on the back of a long space rocket being displayed in a large interior room. The rocket is being held up off the ground with large silver metal clasps.

People can see a nearly 60-foot-long Electron rocket, designed by Rocket Lab in Long Beach, up close for the first time at the California Science Center.

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Makenna Sievertson

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LAist

)

Donated by Rocket Lab, Electron is the world’s first and only reusable small-launch vehicle.

The rocket delivers satellites to Earth’s orbit, and with dozens of launches to date, it’s deployed 190 satellites for commercial, defense, and academic missions.

Its 3D-printed Rutherford engines were designed in Long Beach, and it’s the first time people have been able to see the piece up close and personal.

The walls are covered with distinct details about the future of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, but the gallery also brings you back to 2012, when the Endeavour made its final flight over California.

The “Mission 26: The Big Endeavour” series includes more than 80 photos of the space shuttle’s 12-mile, nearly three-day journey from LAX to Exposition Park.

The interior of a photo gallery in a museum. The largest photo towards the top of the wall shows a space shuttle being flown near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and the smaller photo just below it shows several people, including a child wearing all pink, watching the space shuttle from a street.

Alyson Goodall, senior vice president of the California Science Center, told LAist the entire city came out to welcome Endeavour, and it can be a little emotional reliving that journey through the more than 80 photos in the Work in Progress gallery.

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Makenna Sievertson

/

LAist

)

What’s next for the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center?

Construction for the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center is well underway, Rudolph said, but there are still some major obstacles ahead.

A chain link fence covered in green fabric lines a construction zone, as noted by the large red, white, and black signs that read "Danger Construction Zone Unauthorized Personnel Keep Out". A massive yellow crane can be seen in the background, as well as a white and orange space shuttle stack sticking up towards the clear, blue morning sky.

The Endeavour itself is now covered up by construction, but you can still see part of the twin solid rocket boosters and external tank peaking over the soon-to-be Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center in Exposition Park.

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Makenna Sievertson

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LAist

)

“Getting the shuttle in was probably the most challenging part of the project, but the building construction itself, the part of the building that goes above and around the space shuttle, is a really complex structure,” he said.

That piece is called a diagrid, and the 200-foot-tall structure will eventually be self-supporting, so there’s no columns or walls obstructing your view of the Endeavour exhibit — but it can’t stand on its own until it’s complete.

The California Science Center is also still about $35 million short of its $400 million funding goal, but Rudolph said there’s still plenty of space shuttle tiles available for people to sponsor.

“There’s lots of things going on here, and in all of Exposition Park, this is going to be the go to place in L.A. without question,” Lynda Oschin, chairperson of the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation, told LAist.

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