Space Shuttle Endeavor in California Space Museum Exhibit

Where is the Space Shuttle Endeavour?

Apr 15, 2024Chris Dickerson

Note: The Space Shuttle Endeavor is currently off display while its now home is being built

Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when it's to a legend like the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Our recent visit to the California Science Center was bittersweet, knowing it would be our last glimpse of the iconic spacecraft in its horizontal display before it embarks on an exciting new journey.

Space Shuttle Endeavour left side

The moment we walked in, the temporary exhibit took our breath away. Endeavour exuded a powerful presence, whispering tales of its 25 daring missions that orbited the Earth a staggering 4,671 times.

We marveled at its role as the most advanced shuttle ever built and the first to service the Hubble Space Telescope correcting its faulty lens, which gave us amazing images of the cosmos. Its contribution to the construction of the International Space Station, still orbiting above us, serves as another testament to its incredible legacy.

Space Shuttle Endeavour heat tiles

Walking around and under the shuttle, examining its intricate details – the heat tiles, blemishes, and burns from countless re-entries, you couldn’t help but imagine being on the crew, looking out the window as the giant cargo bay doors open to dock with the International Space Station for the first time (while eating Astronaut Ice Cream of course). It was a truly awe-inspiring spectacle.

Space Shuttle Endeavour tail and engine from the side

After leaving the shuttle, we walked outside to take a peek at the construction of the Endeavour’s new home. The timing was perfect, as we witnessed a historic moment: the topping off of its solid rocket booster nose cone! This marked a significant step towards the completion of the awe-inspiring new exhibit. And for space enthusiasts like us, the California Science Center's "Go for Stack" website will keep us up to date on construction and detailed plans for the future display.

Space Shuttle solid rocket booster nose cone

Endeavour's future home, the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, is rising just a stone's throw away. While the current exhibit is now temporarily closed, construction of its new home is well underway. Imagine Endeavour towering 242 feet tall, majestically displayed in its launch position alongside the colossal orange fuel tank and imposing solid booster rockets. It will be a sight unlike any other, offering an unmatched perspective on human ingenuity and space exploration.

While Endeavour may be temporarily out of sight, its legacy continues to inspire. Its upcoming vertical presentation, stacked in launch position, promises to be a true spectacle, igniting the imaginations of future generations and inspiring them to reach for the stars. So, mark your calendars, space adventurers, because Endeavour's grand unveiling is closer than ever!

Space Shuttle Endeavour new exhibit under contruction

How did Endeavor get to Los Angeles?

Once NASA retired the shuttle, Endeavour's journey to Los Angeles wasn't just a flight, it was an odyssey. Following its final mission in 2011, it embarked on a farewell tour, piggybacking atop a modified Boeing 747 named "Shuttle Carrier Aircraft." This aerial spectacle saw it grace the skies across the country, landing at key NASA locations and thrilling onlookers before touching down at LAX in September 2012.

To reach its final resting place at the California Science Center, Endeavour had to embark on a 12-mile crawl through the streets of LA. Imagine this behemoth, carefully transported on a specially designed vehicle, inching its way through tight cityscapes. Power lines were temporarily removed, trees trimmed, and traffic rerouted to accommodate its majestic passage. Witnessing this slow, deliberate procession became a once-in-a-lifetime event for Angelenos, solidifying Endeavour's place as a cherished local icon.

Space Shuttle Endeavour Engines and flaps