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Northrop Grumman and NASA Donate Shuttle Boosters to California Science Center

Well... It's Not Like They Have Much Use For Them Anymore...

Northrop Grumman Corporation and NASA have donated a set of flight-worthy solid rocket boosters from the Space Shuttle Program to the California Science Center, located in Los Angeles, California, to display with the Space Shuttle orbiter Endeavour and a real Space Shuttle external tank in a launch configuration.

The California Science Center’s goal for this exhibit is to preserve and display the only existing full stack of an orbiter, genuine solid rocket boosters, and external tank in the launch position. The Space Shuttle Endeavour will be the centerpiece in the future Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, the Phase III expansion project of the Science Center.

After NASA awarded the last existing flight-worthy external tank (ET-94) to the Science Center Foundation in 2015, it became evident it would be critical to have a flight-worthy set of solid rocket boosters, not only for authenticity but also for seismic structural safety. Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center Project Director Dennis Jenkins made the request to Northrop Grumman.

The booster cases that Northrop Grumman is donating to the California Science Center have flown on a combined 81 space shuttle flights and have been part of 32 ground tests.

“As for the non-motor parts of the booster, we sourced a set of flight-worthy aft skirts and frustums from NASA surplus and a set of forward skirts that were used for tests for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) Program in Utah at Northrop Grumman,” said Jenkins. “Northrop Grumman and NASA are providing most of the smaller parts, like booster separation motors, from surplus.”

The donation of the shuttle boosters builds upon a more than decade long partnership the company has had with the Science Center. Northrop Grumman has sponsored the California State Science and Engineering Fair and several of the company’s employees volunteer their time each year to advance STEM education by supporting various events. The company also supports the center’s annual Discovery Ball.

FMI: https://news.northropgrumman.com, www.nasa.gov

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