Space shuttle rockets will be trucked through L.A. area roads | Space


Get ready for the last big transport of space shuttle equipment to the California Science Center, a two-day spectacle that will traverse seven freeways from the Mojave Desert to South Los Angeles, to be eventually installed at a grand 20-story museum exhibit.

This will be the final large piece of equipment needed as the California Science Center constructs the $400-million Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, the final museum home of the space shuttle Endeavour, which is being assembled as if it’s being prepared for launch. The new museum wing has been anticipated since 2011 when NASA chose the science center as one of just three museums nationwide to permanently feature the trio of surviving shuttles that have seen spaceflight.

When the final exhibit is fully built, Endeavour will be the only space shuttle that will be exhibited as if it is being ready to be launched. Endeavour will be moved from its temporary hangar and hoisted from a horizontal to a vertical position no earlier than the last week of January.

The journey of the space shuttle equipment this week will take three hours Tuesday morning and six hours Wednesday morning. The move involves twin solid rocket motors, which form most of the white solid rocket boosters. The solid rocket boosters produced more than 80% of the lift during takeoff.

The rocket motors will traverse about 160 miles from their current home at the Mojave Air and Space Port to the California Science Center.

A rendering of the space shuttle Endeavour as it’s expected to appear in the new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center when it’s completed.

(Ron McPherson / California Science Center Foundation)

Donated by Northrup Grumman, each solid rocket motor is large — 12 feet, 2 inches in diameter, and 116 feet in length. Each solid rocket motor weighs 104,000 pounds, and will be transported on one truck each.

“They’re big rockets,” said Jeffrey Rudolph, president of the California Science Center. “And…

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