Space Shuttle Endeavor is ready for liftoff in Exposition Park. Or at least it looks like it.

This week, the California Science Center completed the final stage of its "Go For Stack" process, which moved the shuttle from its temporary accommodations of more than 10 years to its permanent home: the $400 million Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.

External Tank ET-94 being lowered into placeGary Leonard

Go For Stack commenced in July 2023 with the installation of two aft skirts at the bottom of the exhibit - both of which were used in shuttle missions dating to 1982. That was followed in October and November by the arrival and installation of two solid rocket motors donated by Northrop Grumman.

The final stages of the process, which commenced starting in the first half of January, saw the installation of the shuttle's External Tank ET-94. Weighing 65,000 pounds, the 154-foot-tall tank is the largest element of the display, and the last flight-qualified external tank that remains in existence.

Endeavour in the Samuel Oschin Air and Space CenterZGF

The main star of the attraction, the Endeavor, was hoisted into place in dramatic fashion earlier this week.

“With the lift and mating of Endeavour, we have successfully completed the last-ever space shuttle stack. This is a dream over thirty years in the making, and a feat that has never before been accomplished outside of a NASA or Air Force facility,” said California Science Center president and chief executive officer Jeffrey Rudolph. “The California Science Center has been fortunate to have a remarkable group of experts devoted to this project who have decades of experience working with NASA and the shuttle program—some from the very first space shuttle launch in 1981. Go for Stack marked the final time they’ll work together to lift and mate a space shuttle.”

At completion, the roughly 200,000-square-foot Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will roughly double the size of the California Science Center. Designed by ZGF, the approximately 20-story structure will contain three multi-level galleries named Air, Space, and Shuttle.

Aerial View of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space CenterZGF

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