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'Endeavour: The California Story' accompanies shuttle at Science Center

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Children from Dr. Theodore T. Alexander Science Center School look at a model of the space shuttle during a preview of Endeavour: The California Story exhibit at the California Science Center.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Two children look at the tires from STS-134, space shuttle Endeavour's last mission, during a preview of Endeavour: The California Story exhibition at the California Science Center.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Daniel Adamski, director and program manager at Pratt& Whitney Rocketdyne tells children about the rockets used on Endeavour during the grand opening of the exhibition at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, Calif., October 30, 2012. The space shuttle's main engines work with the solid rocket boosters to launch the shuttle off the pad and into orbit.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Children from Dr. Theodore T. Alexander Science Center School look at items that American Astronaut Garrett Reisman used during Endeavour's SIS-123 mission.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Children look at a toilet used on space shuttle Endeavour during a preview of Endeavour: The California Story exhibit at the California Science Center.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

The Rocketdyne Operations Support Center is displayed at Endeavour: The California Story exhibit at the California Science Center. The control room monitored the first 8 1/2 minutes of every shuttle launch from its former home in Canoga Park.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Children get ready to "take off" inside the Pulseworks simulator ride during a preview of Endeavour: The California Story exhibit at the California Science Center.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Children hang on to the safety rails inside the Pulseworks simulator ride during a preview of Endeavour: The California Story exhibition at the California Science Center.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

A group of children watch a display about the shuttle during the grand opening of the Space Shuttle Endeavour Exhibition at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, Calif., October 30, 2012. Children and adults got the chance to meet astronauts and learn about the shuttle.

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spreads his arms as James Ingram sings “I believe I can fly” during the grand opening of the Space Shuttle Endeavour Exhibition at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, Calif., October 30, 2012. Bill Nye opened up the ceremony to an estimated crowd of 400 people, including 60 fourth graders from Science Center School..

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Anibal Ortiz / KPCC

Bill Nye signs autographs for fans during the grand opening of the Space Shuttle Endeavour Exhibition at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, Calif., October 30, 2012. Bill Nye opened up the ceremony to an estimated crowd of 400 people, including 60 fourth graders from Science Center School.


The space shuttle Endeavour went on display at the California Science Center this week. Accompanying it is another exhibit, complete with real artifacts that explain how astronauts get their electricity, prepare food, and use the bathroom in space.

One of the first things you’ll see when you visit “Endeavour: The California Story,” is a set of tires used for a shuttle landing.

"These tires are from Endeavour's last mission," said California Science Center President Jeff Rudolph when we previewed the exhibit last week. "You can see the wear on the rear tires in particular. They were used for just one landing, so you can see the forces involved."

The exhibit also features Endeavour’s three fuel cells, a specially-designed shuttle toilet and the galley. It also aims to explain how the shuttle program - and Endeavour in particular- has its historical roots right here in Southern California.

For instance, there’s a real launch control center, donated by Rocketdyne.

"This command center was used on every space shuttle launch in Canoga Park at Rocketdyne's facility," Rudolph said. "They built the main engine and monitored its performance before and during each flight. Their job was done eight-and-a-half minutes into the flight. It's one of those stories most people don't know."

The last highlight of the exhibit is a pair of mechanical flight simulators, a big hit for 5th graders from the Science's Center on-site elementary school. They holler as the engines roar, count down to liftoff, and then sit back and watch as the motion simulated video takes them on a mission to fix the Hubble telescope in outer space.

"It's like you're actually an astronaut," said Fernando Calderon. "It actually felt like I was in outer space."

"Endeavour: The California Story" and the main exhibit featuring the space shuttle itself is now open to the public. You can get reserve tickets for available time slots at the Science Center’s box office or at www.californiasciencecenter.org.

You can see all of our Endeavour coverage at www.kpcc.org/shuttle.


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