How we stack a space shuttle
On July 20, 2023 the California Science Center commenced Go for Stack, the complex process of moving and lifting each of the space shuttle components into place for Endeavour’s upcoming awe-inspiring 20-story vertical display. This technically challenging feat has never been done outside of a NASA facility.
Frequently asked questions
What is “Go for Stack?”
“Go for Stack” is the complex process of moving and lifting each of the space shuttle components into place for Endeavour’s upcoming, awe-inspiring 20-story vertical display in the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, which is currently under construction. This technically challenging feat has never been done outside of a NASA facility.
Will Endeavour go off view? For how long?
Yes. December 31, 2023 will be the last chance to see Endeavour on exhibit for several years until the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center opens to the public. Endeavour will be moved off display and positioned in the Air and Space Center, which will then be completed around the full shuttle stack. While Endeavour is off exhibit, we remain one of the largest science centers in the nation, with multiple other galleries, special exhibitions, and IMAX movies for our guests to experience.
What are the next steps in the stacking process?
Following the lifting and mating of the External Tank, ET-94; then, Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final move across Exposition Park and lift into place by a large crane; and finally, the intricate mating of the orbiter with the rest of the space shuttle stack. Once finished, Endeavour will be in a vertical configuration towering 200-feet tall. The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center building will be completed around the full shuttle stack.
When will the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center open?
Building construction is underway and together with artifact and exhibit installation, is estimated to take several years. We look forward to announcing the official opening date well in advance of the public opening.
How will Endeavour be protected during construction of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center?
Scaffolding will be erected around the full shuttle stack for protection from the elements and construction. Scaffolding will be covered with plywood and kevlar fabric and there will be a positive purge using filtered air to minimize dust near the vehicle.
What will people see and do at the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center?
The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will nearly double the California Science Center’s educational exhibit areas with an impressive artifact collection of aircraft and spacecraft, integrated with hands-on exhibits to encourage guests of all ages to investigate scientific and engineering principles of atmospheric flight and the exploration of the universe. It will also provide a fitting permanent home for Endeavour, one of only three remaining flown space shuttle orbiters and the only one of these national treasures on the west coast. Endeavour’s awe-inspiring ‘ready-to-launch’ 20-story vertical configuration, complete with solid rocket boosters and external tank, will be the world’s only display of an authentic space shuttle system.
What is the significance of having a complete space shuttle system?
This will be the only complete stack of authentic space shuttle flight hardware in existence, making the Endeavour exhibit even more significant than before. In addition to allowing the public unprecedented, unique vantage points, this configuration retains a complete flight stack for engineers and historians to examine in the future. NASA and aerospace companies frequently visit museums to look at hardware from previous programs in order to design for the future projects.
Will there be a separate charge for the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center?
The California Science Center believes science education is critical for everyone and values accessibility and inclusiveness. We do not currently charge general admission, and we will not charge admission for the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.
How does the new building fit into the California Science Center’s master plan?
The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center is the third phase of the California Science Center’s three-phase, three-decade Master Plan and the most ambitious expansion project yet. The new Air and Space Center will be a launchpad for creativity and innovation to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers.
How can people support this project?
The California Science Center Foundation is actively fundraising to complete this ambitious project with nearly $350 million raised toward the $400 million EndeavourLA Campaign goal. Everyone can help realize this exciting vision and donations at any level are welcomed. To contribute or learn more, go to EndeavourLA.org.