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Photos: Space shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center

October 31, 2012

— Space shuttle Endeavour opened on public display Tuesday (Oct. 30) at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The debut marked the culmination of the NASA orbiter's journey into retirement and the launch of its new mission to inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers and explorers.

"How about the Endeavour? Isn't she beautiful?" Bill Nye, "The Science Guy" and executive director of The Planetary Society, asked the schoolchildren and invited guests who gathered under the orbiter for the grand opening of the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion. His question was met with cheers and applause.

"This is just a fantastic day for California, a fantastic day for Los Angeles, and a fantastic day for the United States, as we can share this great use of our intellect and treasure with the world from one of the world's most wonderful cities," added Nye.

According to the California Science Center, as many as 7,000 visitors will tour the space shuttle Endeavour's display daily now that it is open.


Photos: / Robert Z. Pearlman

See for full coverage of the delivery and display of NASA's space shuttles.

In order to protect the shuttle from the risks of a major earthquake, Endeavour is mounted atop four friction-pendulum seismic isolators that will enable it to glide gently back and forth, breaking the connection between Endeavour and the ground.

Space shuttle Endeavour is joined in the Samuel Oschin Display Pavilion by two other large artifacts: a SPACEHAB logistics module, the "float-in closet" that flew on Endeavour to space, and an authentic space shuttle main engine (Endeavour has installed replicas).

The Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion is intended only to be temporary. This model reveals the planned design for the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, where Endeavour's permanent exhibit will place it in a launch pad configuration.

Before entering the display pavilion, visitors tour through "Endeavour: The California Story," an exhibit celebrating Endeavour’s many scientific achievements and its strong connection to California, where all the orbiters were built. The "California Story" includes images of Endeavour under construction locally in Palmdale and Downey, as well as artifacts that flew into space aboard Endeavour.

Guests can touch these tires from Endeavour's final flight, STS-134, which show the wear from landing on the runway.

One of the Endeavour's three fuel cells, which generated electricity to power the orbiter's control and life support systems during flight.

The space potty, or Waste Collection System, provided a high-tech solution to one of space travel's most pressing concerns.

The galley, removed from the orbiter's middeck, served as a kitchen in space for astronauts aboard space shuttle Endeavour.

Astronaut Garrett Reisman loaned the California Science Center many of his personal mementos from his 2008 flight on Endeavour to the International Space Station. Included in the display are personal photos, space food samples and Reisman's hygiene kit.

Transferred from its original facility in Canoga Park, Calif., the Rocketdyne Operations Support Center (ROSC) was used to monitor the space shuttle main engines during every launch and ascent to orbit, including Endeavour's 25 missions.

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