California Science Center’s collection of vintage space hardware continues to grow.
NASA contractor Orbital ATK, which previously donated a giant fuel tank manufactured for the now-retired Space Shuttle Endeavour, announced March 28 that it will give the downtown L.A. museum a set of “flight worthy” solid rocket boosters from the Space Shuttle program.
The Dulles, Va.-based contractor donated the shuttle fuel tank to the Science Center in 2015. The externally mounted tank was the only part of the Space Shuttle’s vertically launched “shuttle stack” that wasn’t reusable, as it was jettisoned prior to the spacecraft’s return to Earth and plane-like, horizontal runway landing.
The latest gift will expand both the authenticity and stability of the Space Shuttle exhibit, where local seismic-worthiness always figure in display concerns.
“We take great pride in our 30-plus years of participation in the Space Shuttle Program,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of Orbital’s Propulsion Systems Division. “We’re pleased and honored that we can contribute hardware to this amazing exhibit at the California Science Center.”
The California Science Center Foundation is building a dedicated home for the Endeavour display, the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, with construction set to begin this summer. Details of how and when the booster hardware Orbital is donating will be shipped weren’t immediately available.
Most of the booster parts were used in actual Space Shuttle operations or related ground tests. Some non-motor parts were sourced from components being developed for NASA’s next launch vehicle, the Space Launch System, or SLS.