AN recently profiled the emerging architectural typology of spaceports across the country, and now there’s news from the Houston site that helped launch the dream of space travel decades ago. Independence Shuttle, a full-scale replica of NASA’s iconic Space Shuttle, recently was moved from the Johnson Space Center (JSC) to its next-door neighbor, Space Center Houston.
To some people, the relocation was a matter of mere logistics. To others, however, the transfer symbolized not just a lessening of power and precedence associated with Johnson Space Center, but with NASA’s space program as a whole.
Amid the hubbub surrounding the Space Shuttle Endeavor landing inside its temporary digs at the California Science Center (our favorite part at the opening: James Ingram crooning I believe I can Fly, with LA Mayor Villaraigosa dancing in a trance behind him), the museum has done its best to keep the plans for the orbiter’s future home under wraps. But we’ve managed to uncover some tantalizing details of the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center: For one, the new building by ZGF will measure around 200 feet tall, enough to accommodate the spacecraft and its booster rockets standing upright. It may also feature a slide to the base of the Space Shuttle. Now that’s what we’re talking about.
Yesterday, AN got a first hand look at the Space Shuttle Endeavor resting inside its new home, the 18,000 square foot Samuel Oschin Pavilion at LA’s California Science Center. The verdict: go see it. No piece of architecture in recent memory has been as breathtaking as the shuttle.
The U.S.S. Intrepid looks visibly pregnant, and it seems as though she still hopes to give birth to an offshoot of the museum in a parking lot directly across the street. About nine months ago, New York’s Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum revealed that it had its eye on a prime parcel owned by New York State adjacent to the museum on 12th Avenue to house its newest attraction, the Space Shuttle Enterprise.
Most of the recent attention on the shuttle has focused on the herculean effort to get it onto the deck, where it rests in a temporary pavilion that sits on the bow looking like a bulbous balloon about to burst. A spokesperson for City Planning said that the city’s zoning laws extend out to piers but requirements for permanently docked structures are a bit nebulous.