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California Science Center to begin building home for Endeavour

March 7, 2012 |  5:58 pm

Endeavour arrives Kennedy Space Center in 1991

The California Science Center will soon begin construction of an aircraft hangar that will house the space shuttle Endeavour, the museum's president said Wednesday.

The hangar will be built  northwest of the state-run museum, located near downtown Los Angeles, Jeffrey N. Rudolph, president of the science center, told The Times. Construction is scheduled to begin in a couple of weeks.

The temporary climate-controlled home will allow the museum to make Endeavour available to public viewing within weeks of its arrival, sometime in the fall. During that time, it will be displayed horizontally.

The museum will then build a permanent Air and Space Center, and Endeavour will be its centerpiece.

Endeavour is now at NASA's Cape Canaveral in Florida. Moving the space ship from Los Angeles International Airport to the science center will probably take an entire day.

The shuttle is so large that crews will have to dismantle traffic signals, cut trees and close roads so it can pass through the city. The move is expected to occur on a Saturday.

The California Science Center was one of three museums nationwide to receive a retired space shuttle; a fourth is receiving the prototype Enterprise. NASA will transport space shuttle Discovery from Florida to the suburban Washington, D.C., area April 17. The vehicle will be transported to the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia on April 19.

The Enterprise prototype, which is  housed at the Udvar-Hazy center, will move to New York City on April 23. In June, it will be moved by barge to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum complex.

The Atlantis will remain in Florida and be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center's visitor complex.

--- Rong-Gong Lin II at the California Science Center

Photo: In this 1991 file photo, Endeavour arrives at the Kennedy Space Center. Credit: NASA