EXPOSITION PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles' famed space shuttle Endeavour which once took over the streets and had Angelinos in awe has started its next mission. On Wednesday, retired NASA astronauts who flew on Endeavour were joined by dignitaries at the California Science Center at Exposition Park. They grabbed shovels and broke ground on the shuttle's new and permanent home next center.
"That feeling that I had on the launch pad before Endeavour launched, I'm going to feel that again when I see it vertically in the building," said Greg Chamitoff, a retired astronaut who once flew on Endeavour. "It's going to feel like a dream come true. And it's going be hopefully launching the dreams of many, many people for generations to come."
The shuttle's new home will be called the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. The center will add 200,000 square feet to the site. The shuttle will be placed vertically and the gallery's highest point will be at 200 feet.
"Here at Expo Park, when the Lucas Museum opens up and this opens up, George Lucas once said to me 'You'll be able to go to one museum where we dreamed about going to space and walk to another on how it actually happens,'" said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
The California Science Center Foundation has raised nearly $300 million toward its $400 million campaign goal for Endeavour LA. The largest gift came from the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation.
"You may wonder why did I do this? Why did I get involved with the science center? I can tell you one word, it was because of the children," said Lynda Oschin, "I want to thank my husband Samuel Oschin for making all of this possible. I know he is here with us today."
The plan for the shuttle is to take it out of the hanger, place it outside and build around it. Construction is expected to be completed in three years.