Here we go again. Four years after the space shuttle Endeavour thrilled crowds while making its way through the streets of Los Angeles, another massive spacecraft component is poised to make the same historic journey.
NASA donated its last remaining space shuttle fuel tank to the California Science Center at Exposition Park. Dubbed ET-94, the giant orange tank will be assembled with Endeavour along with twin solid rocket boosters to become the world’s only full stack space shuttle display in launch position – the centerpiece of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center opening in 2019.
“I fondly recall when Endeavour rolled through the Second District communities of Los Angeles and Inglewood, and excitement is building again,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “We continue to make sure that math and science education is inspiring and accessible to everyone.”
“Nearly 1.5 million people came out to cheer Endeavour years ago,” Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts said. “It brought joy to everyone, young and old, and celebrated our sense of wonderment and community pride.”
From the New Orleans facility where it was built, ET-94 would travel by barge through the Panama Canal to Marina del Rey. It would then be loaded onto a specially designed transportation device and trucked to the museum around May 21.
ET-94 is larger and longer than Endeavour but does not have wings, making it easier to maneuver on city streets. No trees will have to be uprooted along its 16.5-mile route.
Lynda Oschin, chairperson and secretary of the Mr. and Mrs. Oschin Family Foundation, said she “looks forward to joining the enthusiastic crowds” as it makes its way to the museum. California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph said it completes the full stack space shuttle display, making the exhibit “an even more compelling educational experience.”
ET-94 was designed to propel a shuttle into orbit before being jettisoned and burning up in the atmosphere. It was built for flight but never used.