The construction of the Space Shuttle Endeavor's permanent home in Exposition Park has cleared another important milestone.

On October 11, two solid rocket motors made their way up Figueroa Street toward the California Science Center, as throngs of onlookers watched the latest phase of Go for Stack, the six-month-long process which will bring the space shuttle into launch position as the centerpiece of the $400 million Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.

Solid Rocket Motors passing BMO Stadium along Figueroa StreetGary Leonard

The solid rocket motors, which were donated by Northrop Grumman, journeyed to Exposition Park from storage at the Mojave Air and Space Port. When in use, the 15-story reusable structures helped to produce 6 million pounds of thrust to lift space shuttles off of the launch pad, before being jettisoned into the ocean after burnout. From that point, they were recovered and repaired for reuse in a subsequent launch. While they will not have fuel at their new home at the California Science Center, they will still have a unique role to play: part of what is billed as the only authentic “ready-to-launch" space shuttle stack.

As with Endeavor, the solid rocket motors made the final leg of their trip on city streets - traveling north on Figueroa past Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard toward an end destination at 39th Street.

Solid Rocket Motors turning off of Figueroa Street into Exposition ParkGary Leonard

“Exactly eleven years after Endeavour’s memorable crosstown journey, we’re delighted that the public has once again demonstrated such enthusiasm for this historic arrival,” said California Science center president and chief executive officer Jeffrey Rudolph in a news release. “The arrival of our SRMs propels 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.” 

When raised into vertical launch position, the space shuttle will stand approximately 200 feet in height. The new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, designed by ZGF, will house Endeavor in a cavernous high-rise structure which will also include three multi-level galleries named Air, Space, and Shuttle, as well as 100,000 square feet of exhibit space. When completed, the approximately 200,000 square feet of construction will roughly double the size of the California Science Center.

Aerial View of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space CenterZGF

To date, the California Science Center has raised $350 million of the $400 million goal of its EndeavorLA campaign.

The shuttle remains on display until December 31, 2023. After that point, Endeavor will not be available for the viewing public until completion of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center - currently expected in 2025.

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