The Space Shuttle Endeavour, housed at L.A.’s California Science Center, is continuing to delight visitors.
Last week, the bay doors were open for a brief public view, which was called “Go for Payload.” The exhibit is only open to the public until Saturday, Oct. 25, and the public is required to make reservations.
Opening up the shuttle’s bay doors have only occurred previously at the NASA Space Stations in Florida and in Palmdale. It was in September 2012 that the Space Station Endeavour circled above areas throughout Los Angeles in a final flight to it’s destination at Exposition Park.
The Endeavour will have three more stages leading up to her lift into the vertical launch position at her final destination in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion in 2018: “Go for Payload,” “Go for Stack” and “Go for Launch.”
The “Go For Payload” operation, which is currently underway, installed an actual flown SPACEHAB unit and other equipment — which provided an extra room for astronauts to live and work. The installation required the use of very specific equipment and procedures because the payload bay doors are made of material that was not designed to be operated on Earth’s gravity.
The installed payload resembles the same equipment when teacher and astronaut Barbara Morgan and her fellow crew members conducted numerous education programs involving students on the ground and also continued assembly of the International Space Station, according to Kenneth Phillips a, aerospace science curator for the California Science Center.
“We’re replicating Endeavour’s payload bay to represent [Morgan’s] flight,” Phillips said.
The public will be allowed to see this delicate operation via webcams placed by the shuttle. This installation will provide guests the opportunity to see the inside of the payload bay when it’s on display in the launch position in the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, which is currently in the design phase.
“Being able to see inside the shuttle will greatly enhance Endeavor’s enduring mission of advancing science learning,” noted California Science Center President Jeffrey N. Rudolph.