Space shuttle Endeavour's move may cost more than $10 million
Moving a space shuttle through the streets of Los Angeles is no easy task — nor an inexpensive one.
The total bill for transporting Endeavour from LAX to its new home at the California Science Center could top $10 million, the Exposition Park museum said. The center is covering the tab with donations — officials have long stressed that none of the costs will be paid with taxpayer dollars.
Several companies involved in the move also donated services including work and consultation, museum officials have said.
The moving costs will come from a $200-million campaign launched by the Science Center after it was awarded the retired orbiter in April 2011. The campaign covers the funds needed to acquire and transport the shuttle, as well as construction costs for the temporary and permanent displays at the museum.
In May, the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel and Lynda Oschin Foundation made what museum officials described as an "extraordinary" financial contribution to the effort. At Lynda Oschin's request, the amount was not disclosed.
Lynda Oschin — who chairs the foundation formed in honor of her late husband, a Los Angeles businessman and philanthropist — said she initially was not interested in contributing to Endeavour. That changed, she said, when California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph invited her to a ceremony where the museum received the title to the shuttle from NASA.
Oschin didn't plan on attending, she said, but at the last minute changed her mind. When she saw at the ceremony how excited a group of schoolchildren was to see astronauts up close, she also had a change of heart.
"The kids went absolutely crazy," she said. "Their eyes were popping out of their heads, and I'm just watching these children and I can't get over this."
"I thought to myself, 'This is my husband rolled into one. I want to do this,' " she said. "He would have been in space if he could have — this is everything he loved: children, education, space, astronomy."
Samuel Oschin's name already graces the Griffith Observatory planetarium and the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center cancer institute stemming from charitable contributions there.
His name is on the temporary display that will house the shuttle after it arrives in Exposition Park on Saturday. The permanent exhibit, named the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, is expected to open in about five years.
"I think he would be so, so proud of all this," Lynda Oschin said. "I know he would. It's every single thing that he loved."
-- Kate Mather
Photo: Spectators snap photographs of the parked space shuttle Endeavour in a Westchester neighborhood Friday. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times