"The highlight is to see Endeavour, and this is a really great chance to see it up close and personal," said Jeffery Rudolph, president and CEO of the California Science Center. "To walk underneath the wings, to look at it in detail. But in addition we have a number of other exhibits that help understand Endeavour, how it works, how it functions in space."
The long-awaited exhibit opened to the public at 10 a.m., complete with a crowd of astronauts, elected officials and school children eager to experience Endeavour.
The exhibit features two main galleries. First, the story of California's aerospace industry and shuttle program is told to visitors through video, pictures and artifacts like Endeavour's toilet, kitchen and old shuttle tires.
Then, the main attraction -- the 122-foot long Endeavour can't be missed in the 18,000-square-foot Samuel Oschin Pavilion. For now, the orbiter will be on display horizontally, allowing visitors to see one of shuttle's main engines, an external fuel tank and twin rocket boosters.
Eventually, Endeavour it will be displayed vertically, but the Science Center must first raise about $200,000,000 to build a new structure large enough to permanently display the shuttle upright.
The museum is expecting a high volume of visitors to the exhibit. They are encouraging people to call or visit their website to reserve tickets in advance.