NASA's shuttle orbiter Endeavour is no longer NASA's.
In a ceremony today at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, NASA transferred ownership of Endeavour to the museum. The move cleared the way for Endeavour to be transported from Kennedy Space Center to the science center in the latter half of 2012.
"NASA is pleased to share this wonderful orbiter with the California Science Center to help inspire a new generation of explorers," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said.
"The next chapter in space exploration begins now, and we're standing on the shoulders of the men and women of the shuttle program to reach farther into the solar system."
NASA will deliver Endeavour on a modified 747 shuttle carrier aircraft to Los Angeles International Airport. From there, the orbiter will be driven through the streets of Los Angeles to its destination at the science center.
"Endeavour now will begin its new mission to stimulate an interest in science and engineering in future generations at the science center," California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph said.
The science center is one of four museums that will become retirement homes for the shuttle orbiters. Discovery is going to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum annex outside Washington, D.C. The prototype Enterprise will be transferred to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City. Atlantis will be housed at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
ABOUT THE IMAGE: In the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center, cranes lift the cage containing an Approach and Landing Test Assembly (ALTA) pod off the rear of space shuttle Endeavour. The ALTA pod was attached to the site once housing the orbital maneuvering system (OMS) pod. The demonstration test was conducted to ensure the center’s equipment will fit into the hangar at the National Air and Space Museum when installing an ALTA pod on shuttle Enterprise. The pod must be reinstalled on a shuttle for transport on a 747 carrier aircraft. The simulation also tested procedures and timelines necessary to carry out the process. Photo credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann