Last night we got a sneak peek at the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which is comfortably parked in its new home at the California Science Center and opened to the public today. The shuttle is massive and awe-inspiring, hoisted approximately 20 feet above the ground. You can walk under the wings and gaze up in awe at the tiles that protect the shuttle from 3,000-degree temperatures. You can touch a space shuttle wheel or stand next to one of the huge Rocketdyne engines that powers the craft. You can look inside the “spare room” that’s sometimes brought on mission.
In addition to the shuttle with its conical black nose that looks like it belongs on a puppy, the ehxibition includes a terrific time-lapse video of Endeavour’s journey through the streets of Los Angeles, flight simulators that you can ride for an extra $5 (mission accomplished if they’re trying to make visitors queasy), a vitrine of astronauts’ personal items (Garrett Reisman brought “Flat Fuzzy,” a cardboard cutout of his cat, onboard), a recreation of the control room (very War Games), a space shuttle toilet (the eagle has, indeed, landed), and more. An like all truly great exhibitions, it ends in the gift shop, where you can purchase baby-sized orange flight suits — just in time for Halloween.