Crowds celebrated as NASA’s only remaining flight-ready fuel tank journeyed about 15 miles on the streets of Los Angeles and Inglewood to arrive at the California Science Center in Exposition Park. Dubbed ET-94, the massive orange cylinder will eventually be exhibited with the space shuttle Endeavour and twin solid rocket boosters – the centerpiece of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center opening in 2019.
What a welcome home party for Shuttle Endeavour’s external fuel tank!” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “It was an amazing sight to behold as this massive component of the orbiter rolled into Exposition Park to the cheers of thousands who gathered for its arrival.”
“The California Science Center will be home to the only full-stack shuttle display in the world that will eventually be positioned upright as if it’s ready to launch,” he added. “It is my hope that this will inspire the next generation of scientists and encourage
students to achieve in science, math and technology.”
From the New Orleans facility where it was built, ET-94 traveled by barge through the Panama Canal to Marina del Rey. It was then loaded onto a specially designed transportation device and driven to the museum. ET-94 is larger and longer than Endeavour, which made its own dramatic journey to the California Science Center four years ago, including piggybacking on airplane. Unlike Endeavor, however, ET-94 does not have wings, making it easier to maneuver on city streets.
ET-94 was designed to carry propellants that would thrust a shuttle into orbit before being jettisoned about 70 miles above the Earth’s atmosphere. ET-94 was built for flight but never used.