The Space Shuttle Endeavour title transfer to the California Science Center (CSC) was finalized on Tuesday with former NASA astronaut and STS-134 Commander Mark Kelly, the STS-134 crew, NASA Associate Deputy Administrator Richard Keegan and California Science Center President Jeffrey N. Rudolph. The event included more than 400 business, community and philanthropic leaders as well as Science Center members and Science Center School students.
A highlight of the event was the display of four flown tires – from Atlantis, Discovery and Columbia. Commander Mark Kelly and the astronauts – Michael Fincke, Gregory Johnson and Andrew Feustel – gave a slide presentation on their experiences with the Endeavour, as the STS-134 crew which flew Endeavour’s final space mission.
“NASA is pleased to share this wonderful orbiter with the California Science Center to help inspire a new generation of explorers,” said NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden.”The next chapter in space exploration begins now, and we’re standing on the shoulders of the men and women of the shuttle program to reach farther into the solar system.”
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced back in April that the CSC would be receiving the Endeavour; the CSC is one of only four institutions in the nation to receive a Space Shuttle. With the finalization of the title transfer, the Endeavour officially belongs to the CSC, although the ship will remain at the Kennedy Space Center until late 2012, where it has been stripped of hazardous items and prepared for public display.
California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph (a CCST Council member) said,”Today marks the beginning of Endeavour’s new mission to stimulate interest in science and engineering in future generations.”
Rudolph also announced the launch of EndeavourLA, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to raise $200 million, which will help bring Endeavour to Los Angeles, create a new Air and Space Center, and support ongoing programs and operations. Members of the public can donate by visiting www.BringEndeavourHome.org. In addition to making a general donation to support EndeavourLA, the public can sponsor a thermal protection system tile and be associated with Endeavour in perpetuity.
Upon arrival, the Endeavour will be displayed in a temporary structure before moving to its permanent building facility in five years.