Space Shuttle Endeavour at California Science Center

by Greekgeek

The Endeavour has landed in Los Angeles, and she's settling into her new home. Here's a sneak preview of the new California Science Center Endeavour exhibit!

I made sure to catch the space shuttle Endeavour flying overhead on September 21st. I went up to Los Angeles on October 14 to watch it making the challenging journey to its new home at the California Science Center (see my photo gallery, right).

Naturally, I had to go back and see the Endeavour once it was installed in its new exhibit. In fact, I attented a members-only sneak preview on October 27, 2012, three days before Endeavour opens to the public. Here's my photos from that visit!

A Few Photos from the New Endeavour Exhibit

California Science Center, Oct 27, 2012
Entrance to exhibition
Entrance to exhibition

My Video of Endeavour's Hangar

Take a walk under the shuttle with me!

The Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavillion

A taste of what's to come at the California Science Center

Eventually, Endeavour will be housed in a new museum hall, strapped vertically to a full-sized replica of its booster rockets and fuel tank on a mock-up launch pad. Ramps at multiple levels will allow visitors to view it from up close.

For now, Endeavour is living in a temporary hangar at the California Science Center, the Samuel Oschin Pavillion. Leading to the hangar is a small but fascinating with great videos of launches and landings, parts of the shuttle's interior (sorry, I'll have to get a photo of the space potty on my next visit), information about Endeavour's missions and accomplishments, and a great VR simulator ride that lets you experience a lift off, orbit, and landing. 

There's also a gift shop, of course. I was tempted to buy a "shuttle crossing" sign. 

This temporary Endeavour exhibit is still pretty basic, but already fascinating enough to occupy an entire afternoon. For me, however, it was simply a thrill to walk right under Endeavour and look up at those reentry-scarred tiles. I've talked about what the space shuttle means to me before, and I confess that I teared up when I first walked under it and stood looking up at a real, live, reentry-scarred spaceship hanging just above my head. 

Photos and video © E. Brundige

Space Shuttle Front Tire
Space Shuttle Front Tire
It's flown in space, and I touched it!
Galley / Kitchen
Galley / Kitchen
Microwave and rehydration station.
Information about Endeavour's name and construction
Information about Endeavour's name and construction
Great detailed photos of Endeavour being built. Named by students, Endeavour was named for the ship of explorer James Cook.
Shuttle Launch Control Mockup
Shuttle Launch Control Mockup
replica of the launch control center at KSC.
Endeavour in Oschin Pavillion
Endeavour in Oschin Pavillion
Endeavour fills the hangar dramatically.
Underbelly of Endeavour.
Underbelly of Endeavour.
Dark heat tiles were replaced more recently; others are burned from repeated reentry (more than 3000 degrees F).
Underside of wing flap's joint & tail.
Underside of wing flap's joint & tail.
The one black tile probably was new for Endeavour's very last mission.
Shuttle engines.
Shuttle engines.
Engines and maneuvering thrusters.
Endeavour's Wing
Endeavour's Wing
It lands as a glider, with no do-overs.
Aft of Space Shuttle.
Aft of Space Shuttle.
78-foot wingspan!
Left side of shuttle.
Left side of shuttle.
Includes crew hatch.
Cockpit & Nose.
Cockpit & Nose.
Extra heat shielding for the front.
Maneuvering thrusters on nose.
Maneuvering thrusters on nose.
Thrusters on nose and tail helped shuttle spin and turn gracefully in space.
Posing under Endeavour.
Posing under Endeavour.
Yep, that's me.

A few facts about Space Shuttle Endeavour

The baby of the Space Shuttle fleet

Endeavour was built to replace the Challenger, lost in 1986. Endeavour was named after the British explorer James Cook's HMS Endeavour, hence the British rather than American spelling.

Since Endeavour was built nearly two decades after the first space shuttle orbiters, she had many upgrades: she was lighter, had better avionics, better plumbing (!), and was capable of spending up to 28 days in space, although this limit was never put to the test.

Although Endeavour is the youngest space shuttle, she still had her share of adventures. Logging 299 days in space and nearly 123 million miles over 25 missions, Endeavour saved the Hubble Space Telescope, rescued and delivered several satellites, served as laboratory space for many science experiments with practical applications (particularly medical technology) back on Earth, and delivered and assembled major portions of the International Space Station.

Endeavour's maiden voyage was May 7, 1992. She touched down for the last time on June 1, 2011, under the leadership of Commander Mark Kelly, husband of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle ("Gabby") Giffords. 

Due to bad weather in Florida, Endeavour's final landing was at Edwards Air Force Base in southern California, where she later returned while piggybacked to a Boeing 747 en route to her new home in Los Angeles. 

NASA Tribute to Endeavour

Patches for its 25 missions
Endeavour Tribute (the window hatch design is a piece it delivered to International Space Station)
Endeavour Tribute (the window hatch design is a piece it delivered to International Space Station)

Gallery: Shuttle comes to LA

Photos and timelapse of Endeavour's arrival
The Endeavour has landed in Los Angeles, and she's settling into her new home. Here's a sneak preview of the new California Science Center Endeavour exhibit!

Space shuttle models, t-shirts

I strongly recommend the "When We Left Earth" series: great space footage, fabulous history of whole space program.
1/300 NASA Shuttle 'Endeavour'

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When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions (Limited Edition)

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Hank Player 'Official NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour' Men's T-Shirt (S, Vintage Charcoal)

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NASA Space Shuttle Manual: An Insight into the Design, Construction and Operation of the NASA Spa...

Designed between 1969 and 1972 and first flown into space in 1981, the NASA Shuttle will have flown almost 140 missions by the time it is retired in 2011. David Baker describes ...

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Space Shuttle Posters

from AllPosters.com
Silhouette of Space Shuttle Endeavour over Earth's Colorful Horizon
The Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle Discovery Takeoff Photo Poster Print
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Updated: 10/28/2012, Greekgeek
 
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Greekgeek on 10/29/2012

thomo: I feel the same way. On the bright side, while (as usual) news coverage is totally ignoring the existing space program, a Dragon Capsule has been hooked to the ISS for 3 weeks and just undocked and splashed down successfully yesterday, marking the first time a commercial company's spacecraft returned science samples and materials from space. Until now, that was the kind of mission that could only be government-funded. Manned Dragon flights are probably 2 years away.

thomo85 on 10/29/2012

I still can not believe NASA now doesn't have a viable means of transport through space. I think that the next big discoveries won't be by NASA they are going to fall behind eventually as far as space exploration goes.

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