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Space Shuttle Endeavour ready for lift into launch-ready position at California Science Center

Space Shuttle Endeavour is cleared to land at its final destination at the California Science Center.

The shuttle, previously part of a horizontal display at the Science Center in Exposition Park, made the short but slow move last week from that location to the doorstep of the Science Center’s new 200,000-square-foot Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, where it will be displayed in a vertical launch-ready position.

On Monday two cranes will lift the shuttle 200 to 300 feet over the Oschin Center walls, then nestle the craft into position between two solid rocket boosters and next to a 65,000-pound external fuel tank known as ET-94. Those components, part of the launch-ready configuration, were moved earlier.

Before the heavy lift, Endeavour will be fitted with a sling-type device attached to the crane. Two tuning-fork shaped devices will act as a lifting sling– one at the front, one at the back of the shuttle. Two cranes will hoist the lifting sling and shuttle into the air.

“Very slowly, we will lower the back part of the shuttle, remove the back crane, and then we’ll have the entire shuttle on one cable point,” said curator Dr. Kenneth Phillips. “We’ll lift it over and attach it to the waiting external tank.”

The highly technical move will continue for several hours, likely into early Tuesday morning.

Endeavour’s final flight comes 13 years after its retirement. The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will nearly double the Science Center’s educational exhibition space and include three multi-level galleries, themed for air, space and shuttle.

Endeavour had been on display horizontally at the Science Center for more than a decade after its spectacular arrival in Los Angeles on the back of an airliner. When the project is complete, Endeavour will be the only launch-ready display of a former NASA space shuttle in the world.

An opening date for the $400 million center has not yet been determined.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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