Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit the California Science Center in downtown Los Angeles. I remember taking field trips in grade school to the (then named) California Museum of Science and History. Although my memory of the museum had changed, things were still very much the same.
When I recently visited, I was with a small group of prominent women, who were given a behind the scenes tour of Space Shuttle Endeavour, which ended its service in May 2011. You can read about how the Endeavour was named (and the proper English spelling) here.
What was most interesting to me was how it arrived at the California Science Center in 2012. Over 20 organizations submitted proposals to display the Endeavour, after it was decommissioned (including Space Center Houston). We were actually told the story from the man who wrote the proposal, and received the phone call from NASA, that the Endeavour would be permanently housed at the California Science Center. They had only weeks to come up with the multi-million dollar funding needed, and prepare the delivery plan for the shuttle!
On display was the actual “receipt” for the Space Shuttle. Yes, that’s right. For an almost $2 billion piece of equipment, there was a regular, paper “Transfer Order – Excess Personal Property” receipt, signed by a NASA Property Disposal Officer!
If you live in Los Angeles, you will never forget when the Endeavour, mounted on the back of a large aircraft, flew its last mission around major Southern California sites (like the Hollywood sign, Coliseum and Disneyland) on September 21, 2012. It then landed at Los Angeles International Airport and, over the course of three days (October 11-14), was towed through major neighborhoods in L.A. to reach its final destination at the California Science Center.
You can watch the short, time lapsed video of the Endeavour’s trip here. Believe me, it will give you chills!
If you have a trip to Southern California planned this summer, I encourage you to visit the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Here is a photo inside its temporary residence at the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. A permanent center is under construction nearby.
As I think back six months, when the Endeavour was making its way through Los Angeles, I only wish I could have witnessed it in person. It would have been awesome to see this sign up-close, instead of as part of the photo exhibit.
We love L.A.!