Endeavour Space Shuttle: California Science Center
After the major media hoopla that surrounded the Endeavour Space Shuttle flying to Southern California and making its way through the streets, it has now reached its resting place in the California Science Center on the USC campus. I had the opportunity to visit the other day and enjoyed my time there. Even though I wasn’t super interested in it before, there is something majestic about seeing this marvel of modern technology in real life. Here is all the information.
- Free to see, but you need to get a pass online since it is so busy. Passes have a two dollar processing fee. Get tickets here. (as of 2013)
- Open from 10:30 AM to 3:45 PM.
- Make sure to show up early as there is a big line even with tickets
- No, you cannot sit in the shuttle.
Video of the Endeavour’s Journey to California Science Center
Before you read my review, this video will show you the process of getting the Endeavour through the streets of LA
History of the Endeavour
The Endeavour was the fifth and final space-worthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger, which was destroyed 73 seconds after its launch on January 28, 1986. Endeavor first flew in May 1992 on mission STS-49, and its last mission STS-134 was in May 2011.
The Endeavour was named through a national competition involving students in elementary and secondary schools. Entries included an essay about the name, the story behind it and why it was appropriate for a NASA shuttle, and the project that supported the name. Endeavour was the most popular entry, accounting for almost one-third of the state-level winners. The Endeavour itself flew on 25 missions into space.
The museum will display the shuttle horizontally in the pavilion while it builds a new addition to its facility, the Air and Space Center. When that center opens in five years, the shuttle will be on display in its vertical launch position.
The Endeavour Exhibit
Along with the actual hangar that houses the Endeavour, the California Science Center has also created an exhibit to spotlight its history. This exhibit houses all sorts of stories, memorabilia, and facts about the shuttle.
Some of my favorite things to see here were the replica of the mission control center at NASA, the pictures from all of the different adventures the shuttle went on, and a video of timelapse footage from moving the Endeavour through the streets of Los Angeles.
Oh, let’s not forget the Patron Saint of Pilots and Astronauts on display as well. Also, in the exhibit, I learned that astronauts eat tortillas instead of bread as the crumbs from bread can get stuck in electronics when they float around in zero gravity. I guess you do learn something new every day.
After visiting the exhibit, you are ushered down to the hanger where the space shuttle currently resides. While this is far away from where the initial line is you are given a poker chip that provides you with access and without one, you are not allowed to go in.
The Endeavour Space Shuttle
Like I said earlier, seeing this space shuttle up close truly is amazing. The sheer size of it is overwhelming. Without my wide angle lens, I would not have been able to fit it in my picture.
The Endeavor is elevated over everyone who is viewing it, and you are not able to touch it as it is higher than anyone can reach. Along the outer wall are pictures and stories from all of its flights.
One of the craziest things for me was seeing how massive the engines are at the back of the shuttle. These things were huge!
After you walk around and take it all in, there is a small gift shop before you exit the hanger to go back to the museum.
For only 2 dollars a person to print your ticket, I cannot recommend this experience more. As I said before, I didn’t even have a ton of interest in seeing it, but after I did, now I recommend it to everyone I talk to. Seeing it in person does put it into perspective. If you have been, I would love to hear what you thought in the comments.