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Endeavour Shuttle exhibit opens to public in California
The Space Shuttle Endeavour has arrived at its final resting place after nearly two-decades of space exploration.
NASA officials, astronauts, elected leaders and hundreds of schoolchildren lined the California Science Center to welcome Endeavour. In its lifetime, Endeavour completed 25 missions and spent 296 days in space as it ferried astronauts to and from Earth.
The Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Orbiter Endeavour Display Pavilion has been specially constructed to house the Endeavour Shuttle, in what will become the true centrepiece of the California Science Center.
As part of the exhibit, the Science Center will show the 'California Story' which uses video footage from the archives to document the shuttle's assembly, rollout and launch.
To preserve the vehicle for future generations, it will not be possible to enter or touch the 122-foot-long shuttle. However visitors will be able to touch the large tires from the shuttle's final mission and take a closer at one of three fuel cell power plants. You'll also be able to see the main engine that propelled the shuttle into orbit, as well as a bay that astronauts used as extra living space.
Endeavour may have circled the globe nearly 4,700 times, but its roots are grounded in California. Its main engines were built in the San Fernando Valley, the heat tiles were invented in Silicon Valley, and its "fly-by-wire" technology was developed in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey.
The Science Center had this to say on the acquisition of the historic craft: "We are dedicated to science learning and education and have an international reputation for high quality exhibits. Studies show that the Science Center is very effective at fulfilling its mission. California has a strong historic connection to the shuttles, as all of the orbiters were built in southern California."