On International Space Exploration Day, Thursday, July 20, the California Science Center began Go for Stack, which is the process of moving and lifting the aft skirts from Space Shuttle Endeavour. Upon completion of this process and construction, the Endeavour will be featured in the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center as a 20-story vertical display.  

An Aft Skirt being lowered onto Seismic Isolator pad. (California Science Center)

Thursday marked the first milestone of the process with the lift and installation of two aft skirts, which are “the base of the Solid Rocket Boosters, which will lay the foundation upon which the entire shuttle stack will be built. The installation of the Aft Skirts will be the first step in creating the world’s only display of an authentic, ‘ready to launch’ space shuttle system,” the California Science Center literature explained.  

Most memorably, the Endeavour went on a journey through the Los Angeles streets during its first arrival to the Science Center with thousands of Los Angeles residents finding a place to view the enormous spacecraft.  

With such rich history, mentioning the Endeavour is not complete without mentioning Dr. Mae Jemison, who was the first Black woman to go to space on the Endeavour’s 1992 mission, STS-47. Jemison was the science mission specialist on that mission and spent eight days in space. Jemison is now a space ambassador and is an advocate for more access to technology.  

The new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will “integrate a diverse collection of aircraft and spacecraft with immersive experiences and the California Science Center’s signature hands-on educational exhibits. It will include three multi-level galleries – Air, Space, and Shuttle – while spanning four floors and covering 100,000 square feet of exhibit space,” according to the California Science Center brochure.  

Visit the California Science Center to learn more about air and space, and visit their website, https://californiasciencecenter.org/,  to stay up to date on the Endeavour’s Go for Stack process!