Early on Friday, workers at the California Science Center hooked a big external fuel tank to a massive crane and raised it into the air, carefully positioning it vertically as part of the space shuttle Endeavour’s eventual upright exhibition.

About 4 a.m., crews started hoisting the tank into the air.

Wednesday saw the gradual movement of the massive orange tank, known as ET-94, across Exposition Park and into place for its scheduled crane ride, requiring the employment of a “self-propelled modular transporter” (about 1,000 ft). The enormous tank, which is 154 feet long, 27.5 feet in diameter, and weighs about 65,000 pounds, took almost two hours to move.

The only flight-qualified external tank still in use is ET-94.

The orange tank was hoisted to a height of 200 feet and then carefully lowered into the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, the eventual home of the unique shuttle display.

Between two solid rocket boosters that are now in place, the tank will fit. Early in December, the twin 149-foot-tall rocket boosters were assembled vertically. This assembly consists of the “forward assembly,” or cone-shaped tips, the 116-foot-long rocket engines, and the aft skirts, or base, of the boosters.

With the addition of ET-94 to the vertical display, the shuttle Endeavour itself will be the only element remaining in motion.
When the shuttle will be raised upright and removed from its current horizontal display was not made clear. Officials at the Science Center merely stated that the relocation will take place in the “coming weeks.”

For over a decade, the Endeavour was exhibited horizontally at the Science Center. But on December 31, the shuttle was no longer open to the public. This allowed for the ultimate relocation of the space shuttle to the new museum, which will be the only launch-ready display of a former NASA space shuttle in existence.

The months-long process to produce the vertical shuttle display has been named the “Go For Stack” method by Science Center administrators.

The centerpiece of the 200,000-square-foot Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, which will almost increase the Science Center’s instructional exhibition space, will be the shuttle launch show. Three multi-level galleries with themes related to space, air, and shuttles will be housed in the building. Large-scale rotating exhibitions will be housed in the events and display center of the new building.

The $400 million center’s launch date has not yet been set.

Topics #California #large fuel tank #NASA #Science Center