$25 Million Gift from Aerospace Leader Kent Kresa Fuels California Science Center Foundation's EndeavourLA Campaign, Names New Space Gallery of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center

Press Release / October 24, 2023
 Kent Kresa (President) and daughter Kiren Kresa-Reahl, MD (Secretary) of the Kresa Family Foundation at the site of the Kent Kresa Space Gallery in the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. This major expansion of the California Science Center in South Los Angeles is currently under construction.

Kent Kresa (President) and daughter Kiren Kresa-Reahl, MD (Secretary) of the Kresa Family Foundation at the site of the Kent Kresa Space Gallery in the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. This major expansion of the California Science Center in South Los Angeles is currently under construction.


LOS ANGELES, CA | October 24, 2023 | The California Science Center's Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center project has received another major boost with a $25 million gift from aerospace leader Kent Kresa and the Kresa Family Foundation. In recognition of this significant investment in science education, the Science Center will name the Kent Kresa Space Gallery, one of three galleries to be part of its 200,000 square-foot expansion, currently under construction. 

The gift comes as the Science Center prepares for the next stage of Go for Stack – the complex, multi-phase process of assembling Space Shuttle Endeavour's awe-inspiring 20-story vertical display. A pair of Solid Rocket Motors (SRMs), which arrived on October 11, will be lifted into place in early November. Like the SRMs that helped launch the Space Shuttle into orbit, the Kresa Family Foundation's extraordinary gift and a $25 million gift from Korean Air announced last month, have propelled the project forward. To date, $350 million has been raised toward the $400 million EndeavourLA Campaign goal.

"Southern California's aerospace industry has been and continues to be at the forefront of innovation, dramatically improving our understanding of the world and the cosmos," remarked Kent Kresa. "From the Space Shuttle to the James Webb Space Telescope, we have learned so much from technologies that scientists and engineers have created here in the region. Not only will the Kent Kresa Space Gallery be a place to learn about the science involved in these great advancements, it will encourage the young people who visit to dream about future possibilities. My gift to the California Science Center is an investment in our youth, to inspire them to be part of scientific pursuits and fuel tomorrow's discoveries."

Jeffrey Rudolph, President and CEO of the California Science Center, expressed his sincere gratitude for the Kresa Family Foundation's tremendous generosity, remarking, "We are deeply grateful for this significant gift from a true leader and luminary in the aerospace field. Kent Kresa's commitment, along with his family, is a testament to our shared belief in the power of science learning to transform lives, inspire new discoveries, and change the world for the better. This meaningful investment in the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will help the California Science Center to advance public understanding of science and technology in ways that are relevant to our lives and important to our future."

Kresa has been involved at every major stage of the California Science Center's evolution into a world-class educational resource and family destination, dating to the 1990s when it was the California Museum of Science and Industry. As the former Chairman, President and CEO of Northrop Grumman Corporation, he championed a longstanding relationship between the California Science Center and the corporation, which also donated the Solid Rocket Motors to be part of Space Shuttle Endeavour's awe-inspiring full-stack vertical display in the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.

Featuring interactive exhibits alongside a stellar artifact collection, the Kent Kresa Space Gallery will examine how the machines we build to explore space extend our reach and help transform our ideas about the universe and our Earth, whether it's with powerful telescopes that look at distant stars and galaxies, robots that go places and collect data, or spaceships designed to transport humans and protect them from lethal environments. The Gallery's three prominent thematic areas will include Lift Off, Robotic Spacecraft and Telescopes, and Humans in Space. The Science Center's collection showcases examples of spacecraft from every stage of the U.S. human space program, including flown space capsules: the Mercury MR2, Gemini 11, and Apollo-Soyuz Command Module; along with an array of engineering models of planetary probes, telescopes and Earth observation spacecraft.

The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center is the last major expansion envisioned in the Science Center's three-decade Master Plan vision. Three major galleries – Shuttle Gallery, Space Gallery, and Aviation Gallery – will integrate a diverse collection of aircraft and spacecraft with immersive experiences and the California Science Center's signature hands-on exhibits. Doubling space for educational exhibits, the addition will provide a greater launchpad than ever before to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers.

About the EndeavourLA Campaign

A project of this scope and scale requires the visionary leadership of the philanthropic community, and the support of the broader public. EndeavourLA is the California Science Center Foundation's $400 million fundraising campaign that has enabled the acquisition and temporary display of Space Shuttle Endeavour and supports our plans to build the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center and sustain ongoing exhibits, programs, and operations. Towering 20 stories high, the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will be the only place in the world with an authentic, "ready-to-launch" space shuttle stack, complete with the Orbiter Endeavour, Solid Rocket Boosters, and External Tank. The project's lead donors are the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation and the State of California, joined by numerous individuals, foundations, and corporate supporters. With some $50 million left to raise, everyone can help realize this exciting vision for the future of science learning. To contribute or learn more, visit EndeavourLA.org.

About the California Science Center

The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and large-format movies. Our mission is to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people's lives.

The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive. The Science Center is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 pm. Please check the Science Center website for updates at CaliforniaScienceCenter.org.

Media Contact:
Kristina Kurasz Cutting | California Science Center
[email protected] | 213-744-7446

Maria Sosyan | California Science Center
[email protected] | 213-744-2144