Space Shuttle Endeavour Exhibition

Fact Sheet / January 4, 2021

Space Shuttle Endeavour Exhibition

Endeavour Together: Parts and People


Endeavour Together: Parts and People is an introduction to the space shuttle orbiter Endeavour. The exhibit celebrates Endeavour’s many scientific achievements and its strong connection to California, where all the orbiters were built. It includes images of Endeavour under construction locally in Palmdale and Downey, as well as artifacts that flew into space aboard Endeavour. Featured artifacts include Endeavour's toilet and galley, and the tires from STS-134, Endeavour's final mission, which guests will be able to touch. American Astronaut Garrett Reisman, a California resident, flew on Endeavour mission STS-123 to the International Space Station (ISS), and this exhibition features personal effects from his trips into space. The furnishings and equipment from the Rocketdyne Operations Support Center (ROSC) are also on display along with audiovisual sequences from actual launches. The ROSC was the mission control room that monitored the first 8.5 minutes of every shuttle launch from nearby Canoga Park, California. Its display gives guests a behind-the-scenes view of the science, engineering and excitement of the first critical minutes in a shuttle launch.

Dramatic video programs, such as one of the shuttle assembly, rollout and launch convey the emotion and power of Endeavour. For an even greater thrill, guests can purchase a ticket for a Pulseworks simulator ride and experience Endeavour missions from an astronaut’s point of view.

Exhibit Narrative 

Graphic panels highlight how Endeavour, the newest orbiter in the shuttle fleet, was built as a replacement for Challenger, and is the only orbiter named by schoolchildren. An audiovisual piece by artist McLean Fahnestock examines the grandeur of the Space Shuttle Program while reflecting the tragedy of the loss of Challenger. Through a series of photos taken during construction, guests see how Endeavour, like all the other space shuttle orbiters, was assembled locally in California. Guests also learn about Endeavour’s first mission as well as the diversity of astronauts that have flown on Endeavour, including Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman to fly in space. One exhibit area briefly introduces guests to Endeavour’s 25 missions into space and reveals how Endeavour’s presence here at the California Science Center is part of a new mission to educate and inspire.


The tires on display in Endeavour: The California Story are from Endeavour’s last mission, STS-134. Guests are invited to touch the tires, feeling the wear in the rubber from where Endeavour’s tires hit the runway for the final time.

Fuel Cell

While in space, all electricity on the orbiters came from fuel cell power plants, and one of Endeavour’s three fuel cell power plants will be on display. The orbiters’ fuel cell power plants, which are each only 14 inches high, 15 inches high and 40 inches long but weigh 255 pounds, generated electricity from chemical reactions using hydrogen and oxygen. Instead of the pollutants left behind from burning gasoline or other fuels, the only leftovers after the chemical reactions were water and heat. Astronauts could drink the water from the fuel cell, use it to rehydrate food they had brought along, or even leave extra water for astronauts to use on the International Space Station.

To help answer one of the public’s most enduring questions about space travel—“How do you go to the bathroom in space?”—the actual potty from Endeavour will be on display, along with a light hearted video explaining how the potty works and some of the special equipment astronauts use for “potty training.” Instead of using water, the space potty—more formally known as the Waste Collection System—used air flow to pull waste away from the astronauts’ bodies and into the proper compartments for disposal. Guests find out that astronauts had to pee in a hose and poop in a hole only four inches wide!

In space where food floats and there’s no refrigerator, dining takes on a whole new dimension. The galley from Endeavour, which gave astronauts the tools they needed to rehydrate and heat food, will be on display, along with a fun video of astronauts snacking and sipping in space. Guests discover that one Southern California favorite food, tortillas, is a favorite of astronauts too because tortillas don’t generate crumbs. Astronauts use them for everything from burritos to peanut butter and jelly.

Rocketdyne Operations Support Center (ROSC)
Though many people may not know it, a control room right here in Southern California was used to monitor the space shuttle main engines (SSMEs) in all 135 space shuttle launches. Guests to Endeavour: The California Story experience the excitement of launch day by watching real footage on original equipment and consoles from the control room, known as the Rocketdyne Operations Support Center (ROSC), which was donated by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Orbiter Endeavour Display Pavilion 


In the Samuel Oschin Pavilion, guests will be able to see the orbiter up close and discover some of the science behind this amazing vehicle. Endeavour will be positioned horizontally along with displays that reveal the science and technology behind one of the most advanced transportation systems ever created. From its thundering ascent into orbit to its high-speed runway landing, the functions of key components – including its thermal protection system, orbital maneuvering system, and main engines – will be highlighted. The pavilion will feature images and video to introduce guests to Endeavour’s past missions and the crews who flew them. It will also include significant artifacts such as one of the enormous main engines that propelled the shuttle into orbit and a SPACEHAB unit flown in Endeavour's payload bay on two shuttle missions.

Exhibit Narrative 

As guests walk around Endeavour, they find graphics that explain how the Space Shuttle Program fits into NASA’s rich history of human spaceflight and how the shuttle was different from all the spacecraft that had come before it. Instead of just bringing small numbers of elite test pilots into space as the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs did, the Space Shuttle Program brought hundreds of astronauts into space—men and women of many nations, colors and creeds. Guests are also guided through the graphics to discover specific details about the orbiter, its component parts, how it functioned, and what life was like for astronauts when they were aboard.


Space Shuttle Orbiter Endeavour
Endeavour successfully completed 25 missions into space, including the first service mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as the first mission to add a U.S. component to the International Space Station.

  • Inaugural launch date: May 7, 1992

  • Total number of fliers: 173

  • Total number of orbits: 4,671

  • Total miles traveled: 122,883,151

  • Time in space: 299 days

  • Orbiter length: 122 feet

  • Orbiter height on runway: 57 feet

  • Wingspan: 78 feet

Manufacturer: Rockwell International Corporation in Palmdale, California

For more information

Installed in the orbiter’s payload bay, the SPACEHAB Logistics Module (called the SPACEHAB) gave astronauts extra living space aboard the shuttle, as well as room to do science and store supplies and tools. A tunnel connected the pressurized SPACEHAB to the orbiter’s crew compartment so astronauts could reach it, and work inside it, without putting on spacesuits. Guests can peer into a SPACEHAB module that has been into space four times, twice on Endeavour. Invented by aerospace engineer and businessman Robert Citron, SPACEHAB was originally designed to carry tourists into space aboard the space shuttle. Though NASA didn’t allow SPACEHAB to be used for space tourism, SPACEHAB was the first payload component developed by a private business that humans could occupy in space. The SPACEHAB we have on display was donated by Astrotech Corporation.

Space Shuttle Main Engines
The space shuttle main engines (SSMEs) worked together with the solid rocket boosters to push the shuttle from launch pad to orbit. The SSMEs inside the shuttle have been removed for reuse in NASA’s Space Launch System because they are still the most advanced large rocket engines in the world. But Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and NASA have loaned a real SSME to display in the Pavilion for guests to see up close. The energy released by an SSME when it’s operating is equal to the output of more than four Hoover Dams.

                                                                              # # #