California Science Center Names Shuttle Endeavour's Future Home

Lynda Oschin with students from the Science Center School. Students unfurled a banner displaying newly named Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, future permanent home of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.  Photo Credit: Leroy Hamilton (used with permission)

Lynda Oschin with students from the Science Center School. Students unfurled a banner displaying the newly named Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, future permanent home of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Photo Credit: Leroy Hamilton (used with permission)

Jeffrey N. Rudolph, President of the California Science Center in Los Angeles, announced today a name for space shuttle Endeavour’s future home – the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.  The name was chosen in recognition of a ‘transformational gift’ from the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation, an organization which has generously supported a variety of causes in areas of astronomy, medicine, advocacy, the arts and education since 1981.  Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Lynda Oschin, widow of Samuel Oschin and Chair of the Board and Secretary of the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation, were present for today’s special event.

“We are tremendously grateful to receive this extraordinary gift, which is an investment in the future of science learning”, said CSC President Jeffrey Rudolph.  “Combined with the generous support already provided by foundations, individuals and corporations throughout our community, we are now close to the halfway point in achieving our $200 million Campaign goal.”

Space shuttle Endeavour sits on launch pad 39A, hours before launching on its final mission, STS-134. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / ARES Institute and AmericaSpace

Space shuttle Endeavour sits on launch pad 39A, hours before launching on its final mission, STS-134. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / ARES Institute and AmericaSpace

It is expected that the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will take somewhere in the neighborhood of five years to finish, with space shuttle Endeavour as the centerpiece exhibit.  Until then, NASA’s youngest orbiter – considered affectionately as the baby of the shuttle fleet – will be put on public display this fall in a temporary location in the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion while the permanent Air and Space Center is developed.

“The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will encourage guests to investigate scientific and engineering principles related to atmospheric flight and the exploration of our universe.  Integrating hands-on exhibits to encourage active learning and a unique collection of aircraft and spacecraft, this new facility will be a launch pad for creativity and innovation,” said Rudolph.  “It will inspire the next generation of explorers and scientists and will strengthen the Science Center’s ability to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning.”

Lynda Oschin, holding a photograph of her late husband, Samuel Oschin, stands with California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph. In recognition of a transformational gift from the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation, the future home of the Endeavour will be named the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. Photo Credit: Leroy Hamilton (used with permission)

Lynda Oschin, holding a photograph of her late husband, Samuel Oschin, stands with California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph. In recognition of a transformational gift from the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation, the future home of the Endeavour will be named the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. Photo Credit: Leroy Hamilton (used with permission)

“Today pays tribute first and foremost to my husband, and his passion for discovery, philanthropy and the pursuit of knowledge,” said Lynda Oschin.  “This is Sam’s vision and represents truly everything my husband dreamed, loved and believed in – children, education, inspiration, creativity, science, math, space and astronomy, adventure, exploration, innovation, discovery, engineering and commitment.”

“On behalf of the City of Los Angeles I express heartfelt thanks to the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation for their support of the California Science Center,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  “Their generous donation ensures that the Space Shuttle Endeavor has a world-class facility in which to reside — a place that will inspire youth to dream of future space exploration, stimulating science and math education for generations, and stimulating tourism to Los Angeles along with it.”

Endeavour is currently undergoing transition and retirement processing at Kennedy Space Center, being made safe for for the public so as to have no leaks, drips, or out-gassing that could be toxic once the orbiter is put on display.  Hypergols, fuels, oxidizers, and ammonia have been removed from the orbiter (among other hazards), and various systems have been flushed of hazardous material or removed all together.  Various components and hardware have also been removed for future re-use on SLS in the coming years, including Endeavour’s three main engines.  Last Friday, Endeavour was powered down for the final time, the orbiter no longer has the ability to power up her systems.

Endeavour launches on her final mission, STS-134, on May 16, 2011.  Photo Credit: Mike Killian / ARES Institute and AmericaSpace

Endeavour launches on her final mission, STS-134, on May 16, 2011. Photo Credit: Mike Killian / ARES Institute and AmericaSpace

“Since wheel stop we have completed end state safing, decontamination of orbital maneuvering system pods and the forward reaction control system, removal of all hazardous commodities, removal of encrypted hardware and hardware which has potential use on future programs, and powered down the vehicle for the final time” said Bart Pannullo, NASA Transition and Retirement Vehicle Manager.  “Our next major milestones are to close the payload bay doors and configure the vehicle to meet display site and ferry flight requirements.”

Endeavour was built as a replacement for space shuttle Challenger, and flew her first flight, STS-49, on May 7, 1992. The last of NASA’s shuttles to be built, Endeavour would go on to fly 25 missions from 1992 – 2011, closing out her career with 4,671 orbits of the Earth, 296 days in space, and over 122 million miles travelled.  Endeavour will make one final flight this coming fall; a one-way trip atop a modified NASA 747 shuttle carrier aircraft from Kennedy Space Center to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

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