Space Shuttle Endeavour Is Now Fully Stacked and Mated, Completing World’s Only Ready-to-Launch Space Shuttle Display

Press Release / January 31, 2024

20-Story Full Shuttle Stack to Be Star Attraction of the California Science Center’s Future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center

Here are pictures and video of this historic milestone.  
Click HERE to learn more about the entire Go for Stack process. 



(Los Angeles, CA | January 31, 2024) — The California Science Center has successfully completed the world’s only authentic space shuttle system display in launch configuration. Endeavour's installation in the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, a major expansion of the California Science Center, is the grand finale of the unprecedented Go for Stack process. With Endeavour’s detachment from the gigantic, 450-foot crane and metal sling just after midnight, today marks the official completion of the complex, six-month, multi-phase process. The 20-story space shuttle exhibit will be the star attraction of the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center

Work began Monday, January 29 around 9:30 p.m. for Endeavour’s “soft mate” to the rest of the space shuttle stack. Overnight, Endeavour was lifted into the construction site and captured at attach points on the massive orange external tank, ET-94. Work resumed the evening of Tuesday, January 30 to achieve the “hard mate,” where the flight hardware bolts were completely torqued. Endeavour was hard mated and firmly secured in place as of 9:15 p.m. on January 30. At 12:15 a.m. on January 31, after almost fourteen hours of work in total, Endeavour was fully detached from the crane and sling, and the final mating of the space shuttle to the external tank ET-94 and two solid rocket boosters was complete.  

“With the lift and mating of Endeavour, we have successfully completed the last-ever space shuttle stack. This is a dream over thirty years in the making, and a feat that has never before been accomplished outside of a NASA or Air Force facility,” shared Jeffrey Rudolph, the President and CEO of the California Science Center. “The California Science Center has been fortunate to have a remarkable group of experts devoted to this project who have decades of experience working with NASA and the shuttle program—some from the very first space shuttle launch in 1981. Go for Stack marked the final time they’ll work together to lift and mate a space shuttle. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to the space shuttle team and our entire Science Center team, whose dedication and years of hard work has made every stage of this complex and unprecedented operation a success.” 

Space shuttle Endeavour flew 25 missions in space and inspired roughly 20 million guests from around the world since arriving at the California Science Center in October of 2012. The 122-foot-long orbiter weighs 178,000 pounds, has a wingspan of 78 feet, and is just one part of the full space shuttle system. Now fully installed, the California Science Center’s authentic space shuttle stack also includes two solid rocket boosters—each consisting of an aft skirt at their base, a 116-foot solid rocket motor, and a forward assembly on top—and the largest component of the stack, 154-foot external tank ET-94. The roughly six-month Go for Stack process began in July 2023 with the installation of the aft skirts. The solid rocket motors were installed in November, followed by the forward assemblies in early December. ET-94 was installed in early January.  

The final preparations to move the orbiter to its new home began immediately after Endeavour’s exhibition closed to the public on December 31, 2023. On the morning of January 2, crews began to carefully envelop Endeavour in shrink wrap to protect it during its journey, installation, and for the duration of construction. Endeavour moved out of its previous and temporary home, the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center, on January 18 and made the 1,000-foot journey down State Drive to the site of the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center on January 26. 

Construction of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, a major expansion of the California Science Center and Endeavour’s permanent home, began in 2022 and will continue around the 20-story shuttle display. Endeavour’s stack will remain covered by scaffolding and additional plywood and Kevlar fabric throughout the duration of the Air and Space Center construction process. A positive purge using filtered air will also minimize dust near the space shuttle stack.  

The future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will serve as a launchpad for creativity and innovation to inspire future generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers. The 200,000-square-foot expansion will nearly double the California Science Center’s educational exhibition 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 Korean Air Aviation Gallery, the Samuel Oschin Shuttle Gallery, and the Kent Kresa 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 the Los Angeles community and guests from California and around the globe. Construction is expected to continue for about a year and a half. Following artifact and exhibit installation, the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will be ready to welcome guests in a few years.  
For more information, visit


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 enabled the acquisition and previous 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. 
The California Science Center Foundation is actively fundraising to complete this ambitious project with more than $360 million raised 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

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 am to 5:00 pm. General admission is free. Please check the Science Center website for updates at


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Media Contacts: 

Kristina Kurasz Cutting | California Science Center 

[email protected] | (213) 744-7446 

Maura Klosterman-Vu | Polskin Arts 

[email protected] | (310) 552-4117