California Science Center Completes Installation of Two Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motors for Upcoming Go for Stack Configuration

Press Release / November 9, 2023

Motors Will Be Part of Endeavour’s 20-story “Ready-to-Launch" Display, the Star Attraction of the Future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center   

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(November 8, 2023 – Los Angeles, CA) This week, two 116-foot long Solid Rocket Motors (SRMs), each weighing over 100,000 lbs., were securely lifted by crane and stacked in their final vertical position at the California Science Center. The placement is the latest achievement in Go for Stack, the complex, multi-phase process of moving and lifting each of the components into place for the world’s only authentic, “ready-to-launch” space shuttle system. 

The enormous SRMs, donated by Northrop Grumman, were lifted over the partially constructed walls of the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center by a 450-foot-tall crane. The California Science Center team then mated the SRMs to the previously installed Aft Skirts using 177 2-inch long pins for each motor. The twin SRMs are the first components installed that reveal the dramatic scale of Endeavour’s upcoming 20-story vertical display. 

The SRMs arrived less than a month ago, after a journey from the Mojave Air and Space Port, and were the final elements of the space shuttle system to arrive at the California Science Center. The space shuttle stack will include the orbiter Endeavour, two Solid Rocket Boosters, and an External Tank.  The SRMs comprise the largest part of the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs). 

 “With the installation of the Solid Rocket Motors, we are getting a glimpse of how awe-inspiring the final display of Space Shuttle Endeavour will be for visitors and the powerful way it will continue to inspire future generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers,” said Jeffrey Rudolph, President and CEO of the California Science Center. “We are grateful for the incredible team of experts assembled here from around the country who have made this installation, and each stage of Go for Stack, possible.” 

The roughly six-month Go for Stack process began in July with the installation of the Solid Rocket Booster Aft Skirts. Next the Forward Assemblies will be stacked to complete the Solid Rocket Boosters. This step will be followed by the move and lift of the External Tank, ET-94; then, Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final move across Exposition Park and lift into place; and finally, the intricate mating of the orbiter with the rest of the space shuttle stack. Once finished, Endeavour will be in a vertical configuration towering 200-feet tall. The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center building will be completed around the full shuttle stack.   

December 31, 2023 will be the last chance to see Endeavour on exhibit until the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center opens to the public in a few years. While Endeavour is off exhibit, the California Science Center remains one of the largest science centers in the nation, with multiple hands-on exhibit galleries, special exhibitions, and IMAX movies for guests to experience.    

The future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center is a 200,000 square foot expansion that will double the Science Center’s educational exhibit space, adding an impressive collection of 100 authentic artifacts integrated with 100 new hands-on exhibits. Guests of all ages will be encouraged to investigate scientific and engineering principles of atmospheric flight and the exploration of the universe in three major galleries – the Aviation Gallery, Shuttle Gallery, and Space Gallery. As the third phase of the California Science Center’s three-phase, three-decade master plan to develop one of the world’s leading science learning centers, the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will provide a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity for our Los Angeles community and guests from around the globe, general admission free. Building construction is underway with artifact and exhibit installation to follow.    

For more information, visit californiasciencecenter.org/goforstack.  

The California Science Center Foundation is actively fundraising to complete this ambitious project with $50 million left to raise toward the $400 million EndeavourLA Campaign goal. Everyone can help realize this exciting vision for the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, and donations at any level are welcomed. To contribute or learn more, go to EndeavourLA.org.    

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. The project’s lead donors are the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation and the State of California, joined by principal donors Korean Air and the Kresa Family Foundation, along with numerous individuals, foundations and corporate supporters. With commitments totaling nearly $350 million to date, the campaign’s balance will be raised during the remainder of the construction period. 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.    

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Media contact: 

Kristina Kurasz Cutting | California Science Center  

[email protected] | 213-744-7446  
 
Maura Klosterman-Vu | Polskin Arts 

[email protected] | (310) 552-4117