Antelope Valley Press

Center completes rocket booster assembly for shuttle


LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The California Science Center on Wednesday marked another milestone in the intricate process of assembling an upright, launch-ready display of the space shuttle Endeavour, completing the assembly of the twin solid rocket boosters.

Crews last month lifted the two, 52-ton solid rocket boosters — each 116 feet long and 12 feet in diameter — into upright position on the site. They were carefully secured to the aft skirts that act as the base of the rockets.

Science Center officials said the rocket booster assembly has now been completed with the addition of the “forward assembly” — or cone-shaped tops — to the boosters.

The next step in the “Go For Stack” process will be the lifting and securing in place of the external fuel tank, known as ET-94, which is expected to occur in January. The tank is the last remaining flight-qualified external tank in existence, according to the center.

After that, the center will begin the laborious process of delicately moving the shuttle itself across Exposition Park, then lifting it into vertical launch position. When completed, it will be the only launch-ready display of a shuttle in the world.

The 200-foot-high display will be the centerpiec­e of the under-constructi­on Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.

“I am thrilled to announce the completion of a significan­t Go for Stack milestone marked by the successful installati­on of the two space shuttle solid rocket boosters,” Jeffrey Rudolph, president and CEO of the California Science Center, said in a statement.

“This achievemen­t underscore­s our commitment to advancing science learning and creating opportunit­ies for inspiratio­n. We look forward to the continued progress on the vertical installati­on of Endeavour and to sharing this awe-inspiring display with guests when we open the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center in a few years.”

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