Space Shuttle Endeavour, mounted atop its strongback transporter frame on seismic isolator pedestals, is shown in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles during the exhibit's grand opening ceremonies. (NASA/Bill Ingalls) › View Larger Image
California Science Center Welcomes Endeavour
Thousands of people anxiously waited Oct. 30 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles to catch the first glimpses of the Space Shuttle Endeavour in its new home.
The exhibit debuted following a ceremony attended by local, state and federal officials and dignitaries. Attendees also gained insight into Endeavour and NASA's future space missions, as Dryden Center Director David McBride spoke about the orbiter and NASA's future.
Dryden Director David McBride visits with members of the robotics team from Beckman High School of Irvine, Calif. (NASA/Jay Levine) › View Larger Image
"Endeavour was part of the Space Shuttle Program's remarkable 30-year history. It flew 25 missions, helped us build the International Space Station and laid the foundation for an even more exciting future for NASA and America's space program," McBride said.
The new era of space exploration is underway, he added. SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif., resupplied the ISS in October, the first American Company to succeed at that task, he said.
"By relying on American ingenuity, American companies, and American workers to take over routine transportation to the space station and other low-Earth orbit destinations, NASA can focus on developing the new Space Launch System and Orion multi-purpose vehicle that will take our astronauts further into space than we have ever gone before - to an asteroid and eventually to Mars," he said.
McBride spoke directly to the young people in the audience and said to be a part of the future of American spaceflight, help the country retain its technological edge and prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, "It all begins with the study of science, technology, engineering, math and the arts. Study hard and always do your best."
|Brandon Cruz, left, and Joseph Alvarez of Downtown Value School in Los Angeles look at a Space Shuttle Endeavour display. (NASA/Tom Tschida) › View Larger Image
||Dryden's Tom Horn talks to a family about the robotics program, which includes a Lego League for younger students. › View Larger Image
He continued, "It is my hope that Endeavour's presence here will inspire you and more of your friends and peers to pursue studies and careers in STEM disciplines. America needs you. NASA needs you. Set your sights on the stars and never, never, never give up!"
NASA astronaut R. Shane Kimbrough attended, as did former astronauts, Leland D. Melvin, Barbara R. Morgan, John (Danny) Olivas and Garrett E. Reisman.
|Melvin D. Leland, NASA associate administrator for education, talks directly to Mark Mardrosians of Dixie Canyon Community Charter School in Sherman Oaks, Calif. (NASA/Tom Tschida) › View Larger Image
||NASA had more than three-dozen displays and exhibits including this Human Exploration and Operations Directorate exhibit. (NASA/Tom Tschida) › View Larger Image
Melvin, who currently is NASA's associate administrator for education, also made inspirational presentations to two groups of 700 students and one group of 800 teachers during special events at the California Science Center. The grand opening of the Endeavour exhibit was part of a six-day event, called SpaceFest.
"This is the launch of a new mission for Endeavour to inspire the next generation of explorers. The students, parents, teachers, and attendees celebrated this addition to this community and to California's focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education," Melvin said.
NASA had more than three dozen exhibits, displays, and educational demonstrations honoring aeronautics and space exploration past, present, and future.
By Jay Levine