California Science Center, near downtown Los Angeles, is the West Coast's largest hands-on science center. Named by Forbes.com as the most popular museum destination in Southern California, the center has received more than 18 million visitors since opening in February 1998. The Science Center provides a rare model for science learning by combining exhibits with an on-site Science Center School and the Amgen Center for Science Learning as well as a teacher professional development program.
The Center had an unusual and challenging request – to build a home polished enough to be "museum" quality, yet strong and durable enough to hold the 172,000-pound Space Shuttle Endeavour. Endeavour had been flown across the country and the state of California on the back of a specially modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft until arriving at LAX on Friday, September 21, 2012. After spending a few weeks in a hangar at LAX undergoing preparations for transport and display, Endeavour traveled through city streets on a 12-mile journey from the airport to the California Science Center, arriving in the evening on October 13, 2012. This was the first, last and only time a space shuttle would travel through urban, public city streets.
Unisource introduced the California Science Center to 3M's Trizact Diamond HX Discs and Scotchgard Stone System, the products they used to finish the new building's 17,000-square-foot concrete floor. The combination of 3M's Trizact discs and Scotchgard Stone System provide a diamond shine while accommodating the space shuttle's impressive weight. Dr. William Johnson, PhD, Director of Life Support Systems at the California Science Center, is pleased with the overall process involved in addition to the high-gloss finish, acknowledging the difference is remarkable. "We are very happy with the final product and the floor’s high-gloss finish," stated Johnson. "Though still under construction with some final polishing and touchups to do, from beginning to end it has been a very positive experience for all parties involved. The difference in the floor is remarkable!" he said.
Endeavour will be on permanent display in the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion, opening October 30, 2012, at the California Science Center’s, Exposition Park. This genuine national treasure now has a home for life, and the Science Center visitors can enjoy the space shuttle experience for years to come. The new floor will resist staining, scratching, and black marks and require less maintenance than with traditional floor finishes, saving the center thousands of dollars in maintenance labor costs.