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Transited from Gamboa to the Pacific today. First landmark was the Puente Centenary bridge followed by the first Pacific lock, Pedro Miguel. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperative with a lot of haze and rain.

ET-94 Status for April 25, 2016 Dennis Jenkins, Project Director, Phase III

Transited the Gatun Locks today. This is a set of three locks that separates the Atlantic (Caribbean) from Lake Gatun. Passage was made with Shannon Dann pulling and a canal-provided assist tug (Cerra Jefe) pushing. We created quite a stir on the Canal, with a lot of employees coming out for selfies or group photos. Probably provided an interesting transit for the various container ships heading the other way. We moored in Gamboa Rain Forest and will continue through the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks tomorrow (Tuesday) toward the Pacific.

ET-94 Status for April 25, 2016 Dennis Jenkins, Project Director, Phase III

The only flight-qualified External Tank in existence, ET-94, is on its way from NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, LA to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The donation of this never-used artifact from NASA allows the Science Center to fulfill its vision of building a full stack for Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final display in the launch position in the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. Dennis Jenkins, Project Director, Phase III, is overseeing ET-94’s barge journey from Louisiana, through the Panama Canal, and on to California, and sending photos and dispatches from the field.

See More Photos of Endeavour’s Journey

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.