Space shuttle Endeavour not expected to arrive in L.A. until late 2012
Initially, museum officials had said the shuttle could arrive by the end of this year. But NASA officials said it would take longer to detoxify the space shuttle and prepare it for retirement. Complicating the timeline was the delay in Endeavour's final mission and preparation for the upcoming mission of the shuttle Atlantis in July, which will mark the last voyage of the space shuttle program.
In the meantime, Jeffrey Rudolph, the California Science Center's president, said the museum, in Exposition Park, is making progress raising $28.8 million to pay for Endeavour's cleanup at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and to bring it to Los Angeles.
"We're not there yet. But we're feeling good about it," Rudolph said of the fundraising effort.
Parsons, a global engineering firm based in Pasadena, is donating its services to cover the logistics of transporting the orbiter from LAX to the museum grounds. The orbiter will have to be routed on streets that are not obstructed by freeway overpasses, Rudolph said.
Rudolph said it would have been impractical for NASA to have Endeavour land at Edwards Air Force Base in California, because much of the equipment to detoxify the shuttle is in Florida.
The $28.8 million being raised is a fraction of the $200 million needed to pay off a recent "Ecosystems" expansion of the Science Center and to fund a new Air and Space Center that will be home to Endeavour.
Rudolph said the museum intends to display Endeavour at a temporary home after its arrival in Los Angeles. A more permanent home will take at least five years to design and construct.
--- Rong-Gong Lin II at the California Science Center in Exposition Park
Photo: Endeavour lands in Florida on Wednesday. Credit: Joe Skipper/Reuters