Orange County Branch Newsletter

January 2013

Branch News

Transport of the Space Shuttle Endeavor

By Penny Lew, PE

A cozy noontime luncheon was had by the 38 who attended the December 12th event at Il Fornaio Restaurant in Irvine.  This was our first event at this venue and many took the opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues just before the holidays.  

We were happy to have two speakers present and share highlights of the recent transporting of the Space Shuttle Orbiter Endeavor to its new home in Los Angeles. Fortunate to have won out amongst other applicants, the California Science Center (CSC) was awarded the only flown orbiter not given to the Kennedy Space Center or the Smithsonian.

Mr. Martin (Marty) Fabrick, the California Science Center Foundation’s Project Director for transfer of Endeavour from NASA to the Foundation, and Mr. Roberto Ramirez, PE of Cordoba Corporation were our presenters. 

Endeavor travelling through the streets of Los Angeles

Transported on top of NASA’s Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, Endeavor arrived at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on September 20, 2012. Transport of Endeavour to the CSC will be followed later by its placement at the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion, its ultimate home.  The space shuttle is temporarily housed in a metal hangar connected to the main CSC while the pavilion is being constructed.

Mr. Fabrick collaborated with NASA for preparation of Endeavour for its display and oversaw the transfer of related ground support equipment.  He led logistics planning, permit acquisition and technical activities for the arrival of Endeavour at LAX and its transport along 12 miles of urban streets to the California Science Center. His earliest involvement with the Space Shuttle was with planning and preliminary design of Space Shuttle ground support infrastructure at Kennedy Space Center as well as transporting the first orbiter from its Palmdale assembly site to Edwards Air Force Base. 

Presenters Roberto Ramirez, PE (left) and Marty Fabrick (right) with ASCE OC Branch President Tapas Dutta, PE

Engineering logistics included minimizing impacts to city streetscape and to the existing infrastructure. Mr. Ramirez described how this was a huge cooperative effort with all the cities along the planned route, utility companies, and LAX. Some streets were just wide enough, with some modifications to utilities and landscaping, to get Endeavor through its journey.  Meeting the project schedule was critical and challenging and safety was always of utmost importance.  Conflicts such as light, signal, and utility poles; road signs, overhead lines and trees resulted in temporary clearance work of these items.  Other consultants were responsible for analyzing proper load distribution and other considerations. 

With thorough research and planning, the space shuttle’s trip across town looked fairly easy. The general public probably doesn’t realize all the effort that went into preparing for Endeavor’s trip from LAX to CSC. We learned that much of the work was done pro-bono and included other firms within Southern California.

Endeavour, which began its early life in Los Angeles, was built at Rockwell International.  It was only fitting that it returned home for all to visit and appreciate.

For the time-lapse video from Los Angeles Times see:



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