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Space shuttle Endeavour coming to California Science Center, permanently


The space shuttle Endeavour is coming home to Southern California for permanent display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

The shuttle, much of which was built in Southern California, has one more scheduled flight, on April 29. The flight will be commanded by Capt. Mark E. Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman severely injured in the mass shooting in Tucson in January.

Two other retired shuttles will go to two other sites -- Florida's Kennedy Space Center and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum -- NASA announced Tuesday after a fierce competition for what one museum director called the rarest of space artifacts.

"We are thrilled," said Jeffrey N. Rudolph, president of the science center in a statement Tuesday thanking NASA for recognizing "the importance of returning the Endeavour to its home in California."

"The Endeavour will provide an educational platform for the public to celebrate California’s long time leadership in science, technology, mathematics and engineering," he added. "We are confident that it will serve to motivate and inspire millions of young people to dream about possibilities and will attract and engage the next generation of California’s and our nation’s workforce in these fields.”

California Science CenterThe test orbiter now on display at the Smithsonian will go to New York's Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. made the announcement at a ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday to mark the 30th anniversary of the first shuttle launch.

Officials at the California Science Center in Exposition Park got a shuttle-like blast from beating out more than a dozen other cities for the right to house the orbiter, which will enhance the museum's prestige and could provide an economic boost for the city.

Now, the museum must pay $28.8 million to bring the Endeavour to Los Angeles and overcome the logistical challenges of transporting the craft, with its 78-foot wingspan, to a city famous for its traffic problems.

Southern California's ties to the shuttle program date back to the early 1970s. The program pumped billions of dollars into the economy and employed thousands in communities including Downey, Canoga Park and Palmdale. An occasional reminder of the effects of the program came in the form of a sonic boom, which jarred the region during shuttle landings at Edwards Air Force Base.


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Photos, from top: Space shuttle Endeavour, shown last month during its slow move to its launch pad, will be displayed at L.A.'s California Science Center after its final flight, scheduled for April 29. Credit: John Raoux / Associated Press. California Science Center in Exposition Park. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (62)

As a citizen of Houston, TX I can see how California received one but Houston and the Johnson Space Center being left out is outragious. New York received one. Who knew that New York had anything to do with the program. When it comes to the space program anyone not associated with the program the two places when asked that come to mind associated with NASA are Houston and Florida. Congrats on getting one too bad Houston didn't.

Hey way to go CSS! Can't wait to go see it!

Congrats to LA for landing one of the shuttles! However, I cannot understand why the eastern seaboard would be rewarded with the other three. The shuttles are a part of American history and you have left out the midstates in whole. Why would you not select a location like Chicago or Houston where you could reach a base of another 30-40 million Americans? And what does a space shuttle have to do with a US aircraft carrier in New York? Sorry, poor choice. New York and Washington are connected by high speed rail. No need for each to have a shuttle.

This is a travesty. After the Smithsonian, one shuttle should have gone to Kennedy Space Center and the other to Johnson Space Center. You cannot claim that Los Angeles has done more for the shuttle program than Houston.

It is an outrage that HOUSTON did not get a shuttle! Houston is the Space City! Mission Control is in Houston! What does New York or Los Angles have to do the U.S. Space program? Houston and Florida have the strongest ties to the shuttles and astronuts!

My father worked for Marquadrt in Van Nuys (they built micro thrusters for the Space Shuttles while in orbit). I remember as a kid seeing Young/Crippen land STS-2 at Edwards AFB. Now I can take my kids to the California Science Center and show them what Grandpa help build. I'm so happy our aerospace roots helped land this treasure.

Well Done!

Marquardt...sorry dad!

I'm with you, Keith. I live right down the street from Johnson Space Center, and people are shocked that a shuttle's not coming to Houston. How much sense does that make? Houston's Mission Control, for pete's sake!!! They should have gone to the Smithsonian, Florida, Houston, and California without question. New York? Huh????

It doesn't make sense that NY received a space shuttle, since that state had little to do with the development of space shuttles nor the launching and landing of the shuttles. But CA, especially Los Angeles deserved one given our deep ties to the shuttles - from their development all the way to their landings in our the desert. If Bush was still President, TX would have probably received a shuttle over NY.

uh, excuse me but...28 million dollars just to move the craft here?
Could'nt it land at Edwards Air Force base as the shuttle has done before? Does it really have to transported from across the coutry? C'mon every one? These are difficult economic times after all but you wouldnt know it by the cost estimate here?
It could take one all night run from Lancaster to Los Angeles to complete this journey could it not?

this is great news! if I get bored on campus, I can simply walk across exposition blvd to visit the space shuttle. I wonder how the museum going to house the shuttle.

I like the National Science Center in Leicester, UK, by Nicholas Grimshaw.

Yeah man, I was surprised that Houston didn't get one. New York doesn't seem right, even though they are just getting a tester. The Smithsonian is a little more understandable. I'm from Huntsville, AL and we have a full scale mock up of a shuttle that was used for measurements and what not back in the early days of the program.

Obama will turn the endeavour,and L.A, into dinosaurs .

Houston, we have a problem.

Los Angeles is very fortunate and lucky to have the Space Shuttle "Endeavour"
housed in the Calif. Science Center in Los Angeles. Heard many of those "Sonic Booms" when the "Endeavour" landed at Edwards Air Force Base. Was scared by the sound, but was always happy about the 'Endeavours" landing knowing that it was safe.

This is great. I have tickets to take my nephew to see the launch of Endeavour from the causeway and in a few years my nephew will be able to be close enough to nearly touch it and say he saw it fly into space.

I remember well the launch of Columbia 30 years ago today and I am as excited as my nephew to see a launch live.

This is far more significant than a football stadium in downtown L.A.

I am happy for Los Angeles, but the distribution is just not right. Why does the East Coast need 3 shuttles? FL/DC/NY? In terms of making the shuttles available to all Americans, it’s not just Houston that is snubbed; it’s everyone for whom Houston would be the best location to visit to see the shuttle.

I can understand having one on the West Coast in California, but both New York and Washington, D.C., only a train ride apart? Why does New York need a shuttle? Don’t they have enough already?

And let's not forget the integral part Houston has always played in the space program as the center of mission control. There is already infrastructure to handle the shuttle, as well as tourists visting the Johnson Space Center interested in seeing a shuttle in person. And if we want to throw politics into the discussion, let's not forget how much LBJ did as President to carry forward the space program as well as advance civil rights. This is a big-time snub that is insulting.

I have got to believe that whoever made this decision has a prejudice against Texas based purely on reputation (or stereotype) of the state, and that is just most unfortunate.

Houston, we really do have a problem.

Did you mean to say, "outrageous"?

I grew up on Long Island. I believe Grumman (Bethpage, L.I.) made all the wings for the shuttles. Having said that, I agree with the gentleman from Houston... they should have gotten one... which one, I can't speak to...

Los Angeles is where the orbiters where built, Edwards is where Enterprise was flight tested and many landings took place. Other than KSC, there is not larger focus of STS activity and history than Southern California.

I can see why CSS was chosen over JSS, but NYC over JSS...no way.

Actually the shuttle was built in So. Cal .. go JPL !!!!


All the shuttles were built in the LA area (palmdale and downey)
The secondary landing spot for the shuttle is near LA
NASA has its hand in Los Angeles beyond that as well (with JPL and rocket-related industry)

Houston definitely deserved one, but not at LA's expense. New York is far too close to DC and with no NASA connection. They are the ones who dont deserve it.

I am absolutely shocked that the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio did not get a Space Shuttle! Dayton, Ohio is the birthplace of Aviation pioneers, The Wright Brothers! And the Air Force Museum there, which, by the way, has the scariest nuclear missile displays anywhere, is absolutely great! How dare NASA send our Space Shuttle to L.A., to the smoggy desert! NASA has made a mistake!

I have some feint hope that this means the shuttle will land at Edwards AFB.

But, I highly suspect that it would still have to be shipped to FL before returning to CA. I suspect that there is a lot of decommissioning, draining fluids, removing explosive bolts, and likely much more, that must be done before the craft can be put into a museum. All of this will probably be done in the vehicle assembly building.

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