NASA's last space shuttle external tank to trek through LA streets

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NASA's last space shuttle external tank will soon make its way from the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. (www.californiasciencecenter.org)

NASA's last space shuttle external tank will soon make its way from the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to the California Science Center in the Exposition Park area of Los Angeles.

The tank, dubbed ET-94, will be transported by barge to Marina del Rey via the Panama Canal and then moved through the streets of L.A., just as the iconic space shuttle Endeavour was carried through city streets in October 2012.

Over three days and three nights, Endeavour traveled 12 miles from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center in the 700 block of Exposition Park Drive, where it remains on display at the Samuel Oschin Pavilion.

Trees were removed along city streets to make way for Endeavour, but that will not be necessary to transport ET-94 since it doesn't have wings or a vertical stabilizer. Museum officials say some traffic lights will be removed but reinstalled immediately after the tank, which is as tall as a 15-story building, makes its way through.

California Science Center President and CEO Jeff Rudolph says the Endeavour exhibit wasn't complete without the tank, but because the tanks combust after taking shuttles into space, they're not easy to come by.

NASA donated ET-94 to the California Science Center last year to complete the museum's space exhibition.

"We knew there was one remaining external tank that was ready for flight and had't been used, and we asked NASA, 'Could we have it?'" Rudolph said.

ET-94, which was built for flight but never used, will begin its 5,000-mile journey to L.A. in April. The tank is expected to arrive at Fisherman's Village in Marina del Rey on May 18, museum officials said. ET-94 will start its 16-mile trek along city streets on May 21. The journey on city streets could take up to 18 hours, as the tank will be moving at about 5 mph.



Rudolph laid out the plan for "Mission 26: ET Comes Home" at a news conference held Thursday morning.

Related Topics:
sciencenasau.s. & worldspacetechnologyLouisianaLos AngelesExposition Park
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