LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California Science Museum said it has
raised nearly half of the $200 million needed to build a permanent
exhibit for the space shuttle Endeavour.
The museum recently
received a donation from the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family
Foundation that will allow it to start the design phase of the project.
The museum didn't disclose the amount of the gift, citing an agreement
it made with the foundation.
"This is a huge boost. It gives a vote of confidence for the project" museum president Jeffrey Rudolph said Wednesday.
spent the past year fundraising and still has halfway to go to fulfill
the museum's goal. The museum has received gifts from private
foundations, corporations and individuals, but Rudolph said the latest
donation was "very significant and truly transformative."
The museum planned to introduce the foundation at an event Thursday that will be attended by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
the display opens in 2017, it will be called the Samuel Oschin Air and
Space Center in memory of a real estate developer and astronomy
enthusiast, and will feature Endeavour in a vertical position, as if
it's ready to launch.
Until then, Endeavour will be housed in a
temporary exhibit currently under construction. It is slated to be
bolted to the top of a modified jumbo jet and arrive in Los Angeles in
Since NASA retired the shuttle fleet last year,
technicians have been busy prepping the shuttles to their final
destination as museum pieces. Atlantis remained in Cape Canaveral,
Last month, Discovery wowed crowds by swooping over the
nation's capital before landing in Virginia where it will go on display
at the Smithsonian Institution's hangar at Dulles International Airport.
Several weeks later, the prototype shuttle Enterprise sailed over the
Statue of Liberty and past the skyscrapers along Manhattan's West Side
before touching down at Kennedy Airport. It will be towed by barge next
month to New York City's Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.
said he expected the same fanfare when Endeavour arrives at the Los
Angeles International Airport. Details are still being worked out, but
Rudolph said he expects the shuttle to fly over the Hollywood Sign and
other landmarks. Current plans call for towing Endeavour from the
airport to the museum near downtown — a move that will require taking
out traffic lights and closing streets.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.