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Space shuttle model moving slowly in Downey to new home

July 12, 2012 |  2:35 pm

The mock-up of the space shuttle, stored in a Downey warehouse for many years, peeks out from behind plastic sheeting.

The city of Downey discovered Thursday their plans to move the immense and much-loved Space Shuttle Mock-Up will have to take place at less than supersonic speed.

Originally, the city hoped to move the entire 122-foot-long model from the warehouse where it has been stored to a parking lot a quarter-mile away for public display. But Mayor Roger Brossmer said only the nose was transported Thursday and that a dip in the elevation coming out of the building caused worries about possible damage to the other parts.

So those other sections, including wings and engine, will be brought out more slowly by Friday, he said.

“We'd rather be cautious and take that extra step,” the mayor said, describing how heavy forklifts and trucks were being used to move the 40-year-old largely wood and plastic model.

The mock-up will be housed under a temporary tent for public viewing at the lot at 12214 Lakewood Blvd. The city is planning to raise more than $2 million to build a permanent home next to the Columbia Memorial Space Center, the hands-on learning center dedicated to teaching children about science and space exploration.

The model was built in 1972 by shuttle manufacturer Rockwell to help with marketing it to NASA and working on design. It has been hidden away at a former manufacturing site that was the cradle of the nation's space program. The aerospace plant was closed in 1999 and was later sold to a development firm. Now a shopping center is planned there.

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-- Larry Gordon

Photo: The mock-up of the space shuttle, stored in a Downey warehouse for many years, peeks out from behind plastic sheeting. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

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