The space shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center got some fancy gadgets installed this week, moving it one important step closer to opening as a fully-realized exhibit. The retired Endeavour first arrived in Los Angeles in late 2012, taking a magnificent journey into LAX, and then through the streets, to the CSC in Exposition Park. Since then, it's been in a temporary display hangar, but the museum is now working on prepping the shuttle to go on display in its own building, which is set to open in 2018. The LA Times reports that when the final exhibit is ready, the shuttle will be "the nation's most complete iteration of the grounded aircraft on exhibit," meaning that Los Angeles will have access to some rare and wonderful space artifacts.
Amazing features will include:
· An impressive presentation: Endeavour will be only one of three flown orbiters on display in the US, *and the only one to be posed with its nose pointing up toward the sky, like it's ready to launch into space. Getting it into this position will require "specialized transporters and one of the world's largest crawler cranes," according to the Science Center.
· Endeavour will be the only orbiter on display to have equipment in the cargo hold; there will eventually be lighting to illuminate the cargo hold, middeck, and flight deck (being installed now).
· The display will also include replicas of the remote-controlled robotic arm and the airlock and docking system that would have been used on the shuttle (being installed now).
· And it'll have a rare Spacehab, the pod that served as the laboratory and storage area on board, affording astronauts a little extra living space; this is one of only three Spacehabs ever built. The Science Center already has one on display, but this one will be in the orbiter (it's also being installed now).
· And, last but not at all least, real rocket boosters and a replica fuel tank. When they are paired with the shuttle, LA will be the only place in the US other than the Kennedy Space Center in Florida where a shuttle like this is displayed like it's ready to launch, according to a press release from the Science Center.
All the above and more will be available to the public in 2018, when the final exhibit opens in its new home, the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center (not yet built). As noted, several elements above are being installed and the doors of the payload bay (the cargo area inside the shuttle) are now open, affording a rare chance to see inside; the doors will close after October 21 for the next stages of the installation.
· Space shuttle Endeavour inches closer to completion of final exhibit [LAT]
· 21 Photos of Space Shuttle Endeavour Flying Over LA Things [Curbed LA]
· Space Shuttle Endeavour's Journey Through LA, By the Numbers [Curbed LA]
· Exposition Park Could Get a Space Shuttle Skyscraper [Curbed LA]
· Endeavour [Curbed LA]