Saturday, April 20, 2024

California Science Center breaks ground on the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center

200,000-Square-Foot Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center Will Feature 150 Interactive Exhibits and Become Permanent Home for Space Shuttle Endeavour

On June 1st, 2022 The California Science Center broke ground on the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, a 200,000-square-foot addition to the Science Center that will contain 150 educational exhibits spanning three multi-level galleries and become the permanent home of Space Shuttle Endeavour, one of only three remaining flown space shuttle orbiters and the only one located on the west coast. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, United States Senator Alex Padilla, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Holly Mitchell, Los Angeles City Council Member Curren Price, Chairperson of the Mr. and Mrs. Oschin Family Foundation Mrs. Lynda Oschin, as well as other community leaders, former NASA astronauts, donors, and students from the Science Center School participated in the groundbreaking celebration. Governor Gavin Newsom and United States Senator Mark Kelly, who is also a former NASA astronaut and served as Commander on Endeavour’s last mission, joined the celebration remotely with recorded messages. The event coincided with the 11th anniversary of Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final touchdown.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Space Shuttle Endeavour, Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will nearly double the California Science Center’s educational exhibit areas with an impressive artifact collection, integrated with hands-on exhibits to encourage guests of all ages to investigate scientific and engineering principles of atmospheric flight and the exploration of the universe. Endeavour will be presented in an awe-inspiring ‘ready-to-launch’ vertical configuration, complete with solid rocket boosters and an external tank, in what will be the world’s only display of an authentic space shuttle system.  

“The California Science Center is thrilled to celebrate this milestone today,” remarked California Science Center President and CEO, Jeffrey Rudolph. “The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will be a launchpad for creativity and innovation to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and explorers.”

Towering 20-stories high, the Air and Space Center will house an impressive collection of aircraft and spacecraft, carefully selected to present a dynamic and fun learning experience while illustrating key concepts for each of its three multi-level galleries– AirSpace and Shuttle – that span four floors and 100,000-square-feet of exhibit space.

Reaching this groundbreaking milestone is possible due to a gift from the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation, the largest the California Science Center has ever received. Combined with the support also provided by the State of California and numerous foundations, individuals and corporate donors, the California Science Center Foundation has now raised $280 million toward its $400 million EndeavourLA Campaign goal.

“On behalf of the citizens of California, thank you to the many generous supporters of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center project,” said Governor of California, Gavin Newsom. “We have achieved this groundbreaking milestone because of all of you, and together we will inspire the next generation.”

“This gift is to honor the legacy of my dear husband Samuel Oschin, who was passionate about adventure and the pursuit of knowledge, especially in the fields of science and engineering,” notes Mrs. Lynda Oschin. “Just as Sam desired to create opportunities for learning and discovery for others, I was inspired to support this project when I saw the enthusiasm of schoolchildren who met the crew of astronauts from Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final mission. Now it gives me enormous pleasure to see this vision becoming a reality for the millions of young people who will be inspired to reach for the stars.”

Science Center President and CEO Rudolph further stated, “Few institutions have seen this level of generosity and we are tremendously grateful to Mrs. Lynda Oschin for the unparalleled gift from the Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Oschin Family Foundation. Their early contribution was catalytic in bringing Space Shuttle Endeavour to the California Science Center and we are forever thankful for this additional commitment that has propelled us forward to groundbreaking on the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. This gift is an investment in the future of science learning.” 

The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center is the third phase of the California Science Center’s three-phase, three-decade master plan to develop one of the world’s leading science learning centers. Building construction is underway and is estimated to take three years. Roughly a year and a half into construction, Space Shuttle Endeavour will be moved off display and positioned in the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, which will then be completed around the full shuttle stack. Architectural design is by ZGF, construction is by MATT Construction, and exhibit design is by Evidence Design.

“For decades, the California Science Center has inspired kids to dream big and pursue their own scientific endeavors,” said Senator Padilla. “The new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center will continue to position California as a leader in science and space exploration. Congratulations to the California Science Center on your next great frontier that will continue to educate and encourage our children.”

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