Eleven years after the meticulous and monumental transportation of Space Shuttle Endeavour along the streets of Los Angeles, another piece of the puzzle will make its way to the California Science Center.
Beginning Wednesday morning, two large Solid Rocket Motors (SRMs) will be transported along the 110 Freeway, before navigating surface streets as it makes its way to the museum.
They are expected to arrive at the California Science Center’s ceremonial “finish line” at 39th Street around 8:45 a.m. The public is invited to watch their arrival in person and take part in the celebration.
In their original lifetimes, the SRMs were part of the propulsion system that was responsible for producing 6 million pounds of thrust and launching the shuttle into space. After burnout, the Solid Rocket Boosters would be jettisoned from the craft and left to fall into the ocean where they would be recovered, refurbished and then reused, officials said.
The SRMs have been in storage at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Kern County and were a gift from Northrop Grumman. They are the final components needed for the California Science Center’s ambitious plans to display the Endeavour upright, 20 stories high, complete with the Solid Rocket Motors and a massive orange external fuel tank.
Once completed, it will be the only authentic “ready-to-launch” space shuttle stack in the world.
In October 2012, the American public and Los Angeles residents watched with anticipation as Endeavour arrived at LAX and was transported to the museum on the campus of USC. The space shuttle, which flew 25 missions between 1992 and 2011, navigated trees, traffic signs and parked vehicles along its historic journey.
In 2016, the last surviving Space Shuttle external tank was transported to the California Science Center from New Orleans via the Panama Canal. It then arrived at Marina del Rey where it navigated a 16.5 mile journey to the museum.
Endeavour, the SRMs and the external tank will be mounted together and elevated into a vertical position inside the soon-to-be-built Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. The public’s last chance to see the Endeavour in its current horizontal display is Dec. 31.
“Eleven years after Endeavour’s memorable crosstown journey, we’re delighted to invite the public to join us once again to be a part of this next historic arrival,” said Jeffrey Rudolph, President and CEO of the California Science Center. “The arrival of the SRMs will propel us one step closer to the completion of the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, which will serve as a launchpad for creativity and innovation and will inspire future generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers.”
The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will be expand the California Science Center’s footprint by 200,000 square-feet, and will allow for twice as much exhibition space. When it opens, it will include 100 authentic artifacts and 100 new interactive exhibits.
The project has a price tag of at least $400 million, most of which has been acquired through fundraising. The project still has $50 million to go to reach its fundraising goal, officials said.
Those wishing to witness history and see the final Endeavour components arrive in person, should plan to arrive to Exposition Park early. The SRMs are expected to exit the 110 Freeway around 7:30 a.m., and the public can see them up close until only 9 a.m.
Parking will be available at the California Science Center’s Blue parking structure, but spectators are encouraged to take public transportation. The Los Angeles Metro E Line stops at the Expo Park/USC station everyday with trains coming in 10-minute intervals.
The museum will also open early on Wednesday as part of a continued celebration. For more information, click here.