NASA officially deeded the space shuttle Endeavour over to the California Science Center today, a transaction worth $1,980,674,785, according to the LA Times. In a (very cool) interview with the Endeavour's crew, astronaut Mike Fincke tells the paper that the shuttle was built in Palmdale and Downey, so it's comin' home. It should arrive in Exposition Park some time in late 2012 and will be displayed horizontally while a permanent Air and Space Center is built. Museum president Jeffrey N. Rudolph tells the LAT that he hopes the permanent exhibit will display Endeavour vertically, "possibly attached to a replica of the booster rockets," with adjacent launch scaffolding and open payload bay doors. According to NASA's website, Endeavour is 122 feet long. To make it all happen, structural engineers will have to figure out how to lift the shuttle into an upright position and how to hold up payload doors that were built to be used in zero gravity. The cost of the whole project is estimated at about $200 million; the museum already has pledges for the first $20 million, which will cover NASA's cleaning costs and transportation to LAX. After it gets to LAX, the museum is hoping to parade it along surface streets to its destination.
· California Science Center to get space shuttle's pink slip [LAT]
· Endeavour Space Shuttle to Touch Down in LA [Curbed LA]