NASA announced today the locations for the four retiring Space Shuttle orbiters and Los Angeles was one of the cities chosen. The Space Shuttle Endeavour will be permanently displayed at the California Science Center in Exposition Park in Los Angeles.
The Endeavour will take its final flight on April 29, launching from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a 14-day mission to the International Space Station. Endeavour will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank, additional spare parts for Dextre and micrometeoroid debris shields. This will be the 36th shuttle mission to the International Space Station.
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Prior to this mission, Endeavour will have been used on 24 missions, orbited the Earth 4,429 times and traveled 103,149,636 miles.
The STS-134 crew members are Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori.
Today’s announcement was praised by shuttle fans and politicians alike, with Senator Barbara Boxer adding her endorsement to NASA’s decision.
“I am excited that NASA has announced that the Space Shuttle Endeavour will be permanently displayed at the California Science Center,” Boxer said. “California has a long history of supporting the shuttle program and we are proud to welcome this inspiring symbol of American scientific achievement and ingenuity to the Golden State.”
In 2008, NASA announced a national competition among museums and science centers for the right to permanently display one of the retiring space shuttles. The California Science Center competed with more than 20 other institutions nationwide. Other winners include the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City and the Smithsonian Institution’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia.
Senator Boxer and Senator Diane Feinstein wrote to NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. in July 2010 requesting that California receive one of the shuttles.
California has a long history with the shuttle program. Beginning in 1972, all five space shuttle orbiters were fabricated in Downey, California and assembled in Palmdale, California. All of the space shuttles were tested at Edwards Air Force Base just outside of Palmdale, which also served as the secondary landing site to Kennedy Space Center in Florida and has welcomed home 53 of NASA’s 133 shuttle missions.