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Thursday, July 13, 2023

Remember The Space Shuttle? It's Going Upright And... Away

We covered the Space Shuttle Endeavour's grand opening at the California Science Center back in November 2012. Check it out here. Back then, they promised to put it upright at some point. A decade later that process is starting. 

You'll have until Dec 31st to see the shuttle, because it's going away for three years as they make it go upright in the Go For Stack program that starts July 20th. You can read more about it from the press release below.

It's just hard to believe it's taken this long and will take even longer for it finally to look like it was supposed in the models we saw at the grand opening. Here's hoping my prediction in 2026 stands, where some version of Star Wars or Star Trek characters are there to present it.

Los Angeles, CA, July 6, 2023 – On July 20, 2023 - Space Exploration Day - the California Science Center will commence Go for Stack, the complex process of moving and lifting each of the space shuttle components into place for Endeavour’s upcoming, awe-inspiring 20-story vertical display in the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, currently under construction. This technically challenging feat has never been done outside of a NASA facility. The installation of the two aft skirts, the base of the solid rocket boosters, will mark the first Go for Stack milestone and lay the foundation upon which the entire shuttle stack will be built. This is the first step in creating the world’s only display of an authentic, ‘ready-to-launch’ space shuttle system; complete with the orbiter Endeavour, solid rocket boosters, and external tank.

The roughly six-month Go for Stack process will start with the installation of the aft skirts, on top of which the solid rocket motors will be stacked to form the solid rocket boosters. This will be followed by the move and lift of the external tank, ET-94; then, Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final move across Exposition Park and lift into place by a large crane; and finally, the intricate mating of the orbiter with the rest of the space shuttle stack. Once finished, Endeavour will be in a vertical configuration towering 200-feet tall. The Air and Space Center building will be completed around the full shuttle stack.

After more than eleven years on display at the California Science Center, December 31, 2023 will be the last chance to see Endeavour on exhibit for several years until the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center opens to the public. While Endeavour is off exhibit, the California Science Center remains one of the largest science centers in the nation, with multiple hands-on exhibit galleries, special exhibitions, and IMAX movies for guests to experience.