One year after breaking ground in Exposition Park, the future home of Space Shuttle Endeavour has reached a key milestone.

Exterior of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center from Rose GardenZGF

At a ceremony held on July 20, the California Science Center began the process of moving and lifting the components of Endeavor into place - an effort which is dubbed Go for Stack. The estimated six-month process will leave the shuttle in vertical launch position at the centerpiece of the $400 million Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.

Last week's ceremony saw the installation of two aft skirts, used on a combined 15 space shuttle missions dating back to 1982, which will serve as the foundation for Endeavor, its solid rocket boosters, and its external tank. They are anchored by an 1,800-ton concrete slab, itself supported by six seismic isolators which weigh 900 pounds and measure nine feet in length.

Endeavour in the Samuel Oschin Air and Space CenterZGF

"We are deeply grateful for the enthusiastic support that has allowed us to begin Go for Stack," said California Science Center president and chief executive officer Jeffrey Rudolph. "This momentous feat moves us one giant step closer to completing the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center: a major expansion of the California Science Center. It will be a launchpad for creativity and innovation that will inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers.”

The next items to be installed will be a pair of 116-foot-long solid rocket motors, which were donated by Northrop Grumman, and will be shipped from Mojave. They are to be stacked above the aft skirts, and then attached to forward assemblies which form the solid rocket boosters of the shuttle. That step will be followed by the installation of the external tank "ET-94," and then the space shuttle itself.

Interior of the aft skirtGary Leonard

When placed into vertical launch position, Endeavor will stand approximately 200 feet in height, making it the unquestioned centerpiece of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. The project, which is being designed by ZGF, will also include into three multi-level galleries named Air, Space and Shuttle, as well as 100,000 square feet of exhibit space. At completion, it will roughly double the size of the California Science Center.

While completion of the shuttle's new home is not expected until 2025, time to see Endeavor in its current location is limited. The temporary building which has housed the shuttle since it arrived in Exposition Park in 2012 will welcome visitors through December 31, 2023.

Crane lifts the aft skirtGary Leonard

Fundraising for the project remains ongoing. The Science Center announced that it has raised $350 million of its total $400 million goal. More information is available at  

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