LOS ANGELES (AP) — A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday for a museum that will permanently display NASA’s retired space shuttle Endeavor in Los Angeles.
Endeavor will be displayed vertically as if ready for launch, with a huge external tank and solid rocket boosters on either side.
U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other local leaders attended the ceremony at the California Science Center in Exposition Park.
The event coincided with the 11th anniversary of Endeavor’s final return from space.
The shuttle will be housed at the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, a 200,000 square foot (18,580 square meter) addition that will rise 20 stories and contain 150 educational exhibits in multi-level galleries.
Halfway through construction, Endeavor will be positioned in the new museum and the building will be completed around the full shuttle “pile”.
Endeavor was built as a replacement for the destroyed Challenger shuttle and flew 25 missions between 1992 and 2011.
When NASA shuttles were retired, Endeavor was flown to California by NASA’s special Boeing 747 shuttle carrier in 2012, drawing crowds as it flew over the state.
After landing at Los Angeles International Airport, the shuttle was placed on a special trailer which was carefully towed through narrow streets to the California Science Center for several days.