News

This summer, volunteers have been meeting at the California Science Center several days a week to restore a Ranger spacecraft using parts from various unflown engineering models. The students, engineers, retirees and space enthusiasts (ages 18-80), are led by Bob Conover, the Assembly Manager on the Ranger Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory 50 years ago. Together they are carefully sorting, cleaning, painting and assembling a replica of Ranger 7 that will be displayed in the new Samuel Oschin Air & Space Center. The team is also documenting the project; check out #buildranger on Twitter, student Kat Heiden’s website with history and interviews and photographer Curt Mason’s beautiful images.

The repopulation of Endeavour’s payload bay continued through October, as the California Science Center carefully installed flown artifacts and reproduction components to replicate the payload configuration of the orbiter’s 20th spaceflight, STS-118. Go For Payload activities concluded with the closing of the 60-foot-long doors – sealed until Endeavour is in her permanent vertical launch display in the new Samuel Oschin Air & Space Center. Until then, a few final photos of the shuttle opened wide.

This week the California Science Center took a major step in preparing space shuttle Endeavour for permanent display in the new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. In a highly coordinated series of events the center dubbed Go For Payload, the doors of the payload bay were carefully opened and various equipment installed, including a replica airlock and flown SPACEHAB, a module that extended work and living space for astronauts. Go For Payload activities will continue until the end of October, at which point the doors will be closed again for several years.

When the new center opens in 2018, Endeavour will be displayed in a vertical launch position with one of the doors open. “Being able to see inside the shuttle is essential for Endeavour’s enduring mission of advancing science learning,” notes California Science Center President Jeffrey N. Rudolph.

View the CBS local news coverage or View all our images of Endeavour.

And BRAVO to the team at CSC!

The display aircraft just keep landing! This week the California Science Center placed its newly acquired Boeing F/A 18 Hornet on a high outdoor pedestal where it can be admired by curious visitors (and not sting anyone) until finding a permanent home inside the new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. This versatile aircraft is one of the staples of the U.S. Navy, often seen in Blue Angels demonstrations. F/A-18s also served as the chase planes for the Endeavour’s transport to Los Angeles on September 21, 2012.

During our September trip to California, the EVD team got to go inside Endeavour’s mid-deck and flight deck – what a thrill! We poked all around the tight quarters, took loads of pictures of ourselves and the detailed instrumentation and hardware, and asked a million questions of our tour guides, former NASA engineers who are currently repopulating the shuttle with equipment that will be visible when the Endeavour moves to its permanent home in the new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. Thank you Dennis Jenkins and the team at California Science Center for the amazing opportunity to play astronaut.

This month at our monthly workshop (#36!) Evidence Design (EVD) was treated to yet another interesting event in the life space shuttle Endeavour as the orbiter was opened to remove her water tanks. Project manager Dennis Jenkins posted the following newsletter refereeing to this procedure:

Greetings from Los Angeles,
The International Space Station Program requested the potable water tanks from Atlantis and Endeavour for possible future use aboard ISS. The OV-104 tanks were removed in May; OV-105 gave up her tanks this week. Here are some photos of the operation. Mark Kelly (STS-134 CDR) and Drew Feustel  (STS-134 MS3) made guest appearances while the ship was open. The removal has no affect on the outer mold line so nobody will ever know they are missing.

A great crew came from KSC to perform the work. They treated the ship with the care and respect she deserves. CollectSPACE ran a nice article

We are proceeding with the design of the new building and planning for stacking OV-105 with ET-94 and a set of boosters. Two years and counting… More info and pictures.

Congratulations to the Museum of Science and Industry Chicago (MSI)!!! Last night at the American Alliance of Museum’s annual conference, Future Energy Chicago won a Gold MUSE award, which recognizes an institution that uses Media and Technology to enhance an experience and engage an audience. “[T]he Muse awards celebrate scholarship, community, innovation, creativity, education and inclusiveness.”We are proud to have been a part of Future Energy Chicago from the beginning, collaborating the MSI team, media partners Potion Design and Donna Lawrence Productions, as well as multiple specialty consultants, to create this unique exhibit experience that uses media, interactive technology and collaborative gaming to imagine our energy future. Bravo everyone!

Hosted by Nik Honeysett, former chair of the Media and Technology Network, representatives of the Future Energy Chicago team spent an evening of irreverence and celebration at the 25th Annual MUSE awards at this year’s American Alliance of Museums  (AAM).  Shari Berman of EVD shared the event and the Gold MUSE Award  with our partner in all things daring and bold, Kurt Haunfelner, Vice President of Exhibits and Collections at Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, along with Abbey Palmer of Potion Design. (You may not have recognized us in our disguises.)

PS:
We’d like to give a shout out to Mike and Doug of Awkward Family Photos. Highlights from their hugely popular website warmed up the crowd. We are now enlightened and will visit often.

The holidays are upon us, and that means presents! Engineer consultant Frank Weigand brought these Fly Ball drones to our monthly meeting—some of us are better operating them than others! And EVD brought specially made aviation chocolates by our good friends at Bon Bons Chocolatier in Huntington, Long Island (yes—this is a plug for Bon Bons).  Good times!

This month the California Science Center exhibits team performed a lighting test inside Endeavour’s flight deck to understand how the orbiter can be internally lit in the permanent exhibit. Manager of Exhibit Services David Gansen experimented with the placement of lighting strips so that the interior is visible with a diffuse glow–no glaring hot spots. He also enjoyed the distinguished view from the commander’s seat! Lucky guy.

After a long workshop session this month, a handful of us ambled over to California Science Center’s Frank Gehry building, no longer used for active exhibits but for artifact storage. We climbed around some of the Center’s vintage pieces that will return to the floor in the new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, like the Police Bell Helicopter and the Bell X-1 Rocket Plane Replica, a movie prop made for “The Right Stuff.”  We got a look at rocket engines, solid rocket booster sections, and opened some boxes recently received from NASA containing CRITICAL SPACE ITEMS!

Another exciting field trip! This time we ventured to Mojave Air and Space Port,  a test center for cutting edge aerospace ventures like SpaceShipOne, which won the Ansari X Prize in 2004 for completing the first manned private spaceflight.  Now it is home to Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo facility (which we visited but cannot tell you about!), the National Test Pilot School and other cool operations, and a final resting boneyard for an impressive fleet of retired aircraft. We also heard from legendary aviator Dick Rutan, who piloted the non-stop Voyager flight around the world. And on the way home we swung by the U.S. Air Force Production Flight Test Installation to ogle at some more amazing planes… a VERY full day.

Can you say The Right Stuff? Early one morning our lucky team drove across the desert to tour Edwards Air Force Base, home of cutting edge aviation and daring test pilots.  We took a look at several artifact candidates, including a  LLRV (Lunar Landing Research Vehicle)  similar to the one from which Neil Armstrong ejected during a test flight. Other highlights included seeing a Global Hawk drone and watching Senior Vice President Diane Perlov try her hand at piloting a NASA flight simulator!

Endeavour is on view! The temporary Samuel Oschin Pavilion is open to the public, showcasing the mighty orbitor in all its grandeur, along with artifacts like a Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) and SpaceHab, a module that expanded liveable, workable space in the shuttle’s cargo bay.  Also on display are the first hints of the permanent exhibit, including some of our drawings that give a sneak peek of gallery organization, and paper models that reveal the exhibit program’s influence on early architectural studies. It’s starting to get real, folks!

In our second workshop, activities and dialogue focused on the paper models presented to the California Science Center executive staff, overall interpretive themes, relative sizes of the air, space and shuttle galleries, new artifact acquisitions to flesh out thematically driven exhibit clusters, the location of the Space Shuttle Endeavour on the site, and the overall massing of the artifacts we have to date.  By the end of day one, the group agreed that we were ready to collaborate directly with the architectural team.

In our second workshop, activities and dialogue focused on the paper models presented to the California Science Center executive staff, overall interpretive themes, relative sizes of the air, space and shuttle galleries, new artifact acquisitions to flesh out thematically driven exhibit clusters, the location of the Space Shuttle Endeavour on the site, and the overall massing of the artifacts we have to date.  By the end of day one, the group agreed that we were ready to collaborate directly with the architectural team.

Evidence Design (EVD) escaped the winter freeze in New York to join California Science Center museum director Jeff Rudolph and Diane Perlov, senior Vice President for Exhibits, as well as members of the architectural and engineering teams for an unforgettable behind-the-scenes tour of the Kennedy Space Center. Space Shuttles Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour were all on site to be readied for their final destinations.

Tour highlights included channeling our inner astronaut as we took turns at the controls inside Discovery’s flight deck, ascending the massive launch tower, and touring the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and the Orbitor Processing Facility (OPF). SpaceX was on the tour as well—its gleaming facility held the Dragon Module soon to make its inaugural launch.