Last Updated: 11/12/2012*
Hundreds of kids gawked at the heat-scarred nose of the Endeavour space shuttle and peered into its massive engines as Raytheon and local dignitaries welcomed the orbiter to its new home at the California Science Center this month.
The space shuttle Endeavour in its new home at the California Science Center.
“Space is the ultimate of our human imagination,” said Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown, standing directly under the massive space shuttle in the temporary display pavilion. Brown was one of many elected officials at the event, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Inglewood Mayor James Butts.
A jam-packed room full of Los Angeles children, educators, space enthusiasts and media sat directly under Endeavour to listen to Brown’s opening ceremony speech.
“Endeavour’s new mission is to inspire new generations of science explorers.” said Jeff Rudolph, CEO of the California Science Center.
Raytheon shares this common desire with the California Science Center to inspire younger generations to celebrate the power of science, technology, engineering and math.
Moderated by science celebrity Bill Nye, the Science Guy, the event centered on children and arousing a future of enthusiasm for space exploration.
“The city of dream-makers must invest in kids,” said Mayor Villaraigosa after a spirited back and forth with the children reminding them to believe in themselves and their future.
Raytheon is also sponsoring SpaceFest, an educator event boasting over 40 space-related exhibits. At the Raytheon booth, children can learn how a polarimetric sensor works, obtain an autograph from Raytheon’s own astronaut, Danny Olivas, and see up-close pictures of Hurricane Sandy as seen through our VIIRS sensor on the Suomi NPP satellite.
The sponsorship of the exhibit and SpaceFest are part of many community outreach programs Raytheon undertakes to promote education. Since 2005, Raytheon has invested $60 million in STEM initiatives through MathMovesU®, the company’s flagship STEM program.
On May 7, 1992, millions of Americans watched as the first space shuttle built after the Challenger disaster, Endeavour, thundered into the sky on a mission to retrieve a wayward satellite.
Twenty years and 25 flights later, Endeavour is beginning its final mission, and Raytheon is playing a major role. On Oct. 12 and 13 a rolling platform moved the orbiter from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center, where a new exhibit pavilion is being prepared for it. Raytheon sponsored the effort, known as Mission 26: The Big Endeavour to Help Bring Endeavour Home.
|Endeavour waits in a parking lot during a pause in its trek from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center.|
The new Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion will open on Oct. 30. In addition to the shuttle, the exhibit features a film, Endeavour: The California Story, that describes how the orbiters were assembled in nearby Palmdale.
On Sept. 21, Raytheon had a front-row view as Endeavour arrived in Los Angeles aboard the Boeing 747 shuttle carrier. Dozens of employees watched from the roof of a Raytheon building bordering the airport.
"Having always wanted to be astronaut as a child, watching Endeavour land was very bittersweet,” said Otto Afanador, a systems engineer at Raytheon.
Endeavour holds a special place in space history. The orbiter was a replacement for the Challenger, which was destroyed in a 1986 accident that killed seven astronauts. U.S. schoolchildren named the new spacecraft Endeavour after the ship of British explorer James Cook.
Endeavour traveled 123 million miles during its two decades of service. Its crews performed maintenance on the Hubble Space Telescope, hauled sections of the International Space Station into orbit and conducted dozens of science experiments.
The shuttle carried the first African-American female astronaut, Mae Jemison; the first Japanese astronaut, Mamoru, Mohri; and the first married couple, Mark Lee and Jan Davis.
Endeavour’s new mission will be to “inspire current and future generations of innovators and explorers,” according to the California Science Center.
The shuttle's new home is just 10 miles from the headquarters of Raytheon’s Space and Airborne Systems, which is developing the next generation of satellites, space sensors and radars.
“It is a privilege to follow in the footsteps of the great innovations represented by the Endeavour as we develop the technologies of the future,” said Bill Hart, Raytheon’s vice president for space systems.
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