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Space Shuttle Endeavour Lifted Into Launch Position at California Science Center

In a stunning display at a museum in Los Angeles, NASA’s retired space shuttle Endeavour was lifted late Monday night with great effort, secured to a massive external fuel tank, and attached to its two solid rocket boosters, indicating its readiness for a journey. The 122-foot (37-meter) long and 78-foot (24-meter) winged orbiter was carefully transported to the California Science Center at the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, partially constructed. In a process continuing into Tuesday morning, employees secured Endeavour to the tank while wrapping it in protective materials before the public exhibition opens. The area around Endeavour will be prepared before the public display unfolds.

Center Stage in LA: A Dazzling Vertical Exhibition

Jeffrey N. Rudolph, President and CEO of the Science Center, declared, “This is now a very big morning for us.” He acknowledged that completing the project might take up to two years. Rudolph commented, “People are truly amazed at its scale.” “Everyone is amazed, even those who have seen shuttles before.”

To keep Endeavour earthquake-safe, six so-called base isolators grip an 1,800-ton (1,633-metric-ton) concrete slab with a 20-story-tall display positioned on top. The exterior tank, once flight-worthy, is one of the authentic components of the shuttle system, present in every other part of the vertical launch configuration. Larry Clark, an experienced NASA technician, remarked, “It’s remarkable.” He has worked as a shuttle engineer throughout his career and currently advises the project at the research center.

NASA’s Retired Shuttle Soars Again, Astonishing Viewers with Vertical Display

Clark noted, “This brings back a lot of memories for me.” “You know, working on the launch pad, I’ve seen every spacecraft that has ever taken flight, so standing here and seeing it again like this is a bit nostalgic.” Clark termed Tuesday’s completion of the delicate repair as a “gentle mate.” Wednesday will involve further meticulous work. Between 1992 and 2011, when NASA concluded the shuttle program, Endeavour completed 25 missions.

In 2012, the shuttle was flown atop a NASA Boeing 747 to Los Angeles International Airport. From there, as it traversed the crowded streets of the city and reached the Exhibition Park, it created a magnificent spectacle. Upon arrival, the external tank determined equal distances throughout the city.

Endeavour’s Regal Show: NASA Shuttle in Vertical Glory

The shuttle was first showcased in a temporary exhibit hall in a vertical configuration. On the eleventh anniversary of Endeavour’s final space mission in 2022, an historic event was organized for the Air and Space Center. The project utilized an informal name, “Go For Stack,” in the construction of rocket components for the launch. An upright assembly. NASA applied the unofficial term “Go For Stack” to the process of assembling the shuttle system in July, marking the start of the project. The precise placement of the external tank’s lower sections, or “skirt,” beneath the side boosters, was a crucial step in July.

Rocket motors, measuring 35.3 meters and 116 feet in length, were transported from the Mojave Desert to Los Angeles in October and installed in November. Nearly a hundred additional aircraft and spacecraft will be created, excluding the building. According to Rudolph, numerous interpretive exhibits will accompany $400 million in spending, with about $360 million already raised.

A Stone’s Throw for the California Science Center: A Two-Year Project to Conclude the Shuttle Exhibition

NASA has launched a total of five shuttles. The Challenger space shuttle’s seven-member crew was lost in a launch disaster on January 28, 1986. On February 1, 2003, the Columbia broke apart during re-entry, resulting in the deaths of all seven crew members. Nationwide exhibitions feature retired shuttles Atlantis, Discovery, and Enterprise, which were never launched into space. Atlantis is displayed at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, its robotic arm extended, and payload doors open, indicating it is in orbit. In the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia, Discovery is situated on its landing gear.

Big Crane Lift Mission: Shuttle Connected to the Famous External Tank

After its first launch into orbit in 1992, Endeavour operated 25 flights and assisted in installing the Hubble Space Telescope. Astronauts on Endeavour also took part in connecting the first American module in the International Space Station. In 2012, officials flew it to Los Angeles behind a Boeing 747 for its final journey. It took three days to reach the science center. Rudolph said, “I’m really excited.” “I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

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