Two rocket boosters constructed from parts that were part of over 80 space shuttle missions are now located just outside of Los Angeles, as they are now one step closer to standing up the display of a retired NASA orbiter.
About The Exhibit
Northrop Grumman pledged to donate the rocket motors to the California Science Center’s exhibit of the space shuttle Endeavour in 2017. They were delivered over the past few weeks to the Mojave Air and Space Port, where they are stored.
As Northrop Grumman referred to them, the “structurally representative” motor cases were hauled from the company’s Promontory, Utah test site after being specially prepared for being put up for display.
Charlie Precourt, the vice president of Northrop Grumman propulsion systems and former shuttle commander, stated:
“We are excited to share a piece of our more than 30-year legacy with future generations to help inspire a new era of explorers.”
Since Endeavour was put on horizontal display in 2012, the California Science Center started organizing the spacecraft exhibition vertically. It was meant to sit on the launchpad, with a full fuel tank and next to rocket boosters.
On the way to realizing that goal, the center initially acquired a pair of boosters assembled from a mix of flight-ready, test, and mock parts on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor complex of Florida.
The center then obtained NASA’s final flight-worthy external tank, ET-94, in 2016, and they conducted a review of the display plans.
They then decided to get a set of flight-worthy boosters to meet seismic and structural standards.
Dennis Jenkins, a veteran shuttle engineer and director of the science center’s project to display the spacecraft stated:
“As for the non-motor parts of the booster, we sourced a set of flight-representative aft skirts and frustums from NASA surplus and a set of forward skirts that were used for tests for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) program that are currently in Utah.”