It was T-minus five days on Thursday until NASA's space shuttle Endeavour again appears in public view at the California Science Center, its final landing site.
The Exposition Park museum was keeping the five-story-tall orbiter closely guarded, but it opened up its related exhibit for a media preview and a gaggle of fifth graders from the Science Center School.
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One student said the exhibit, titled " Endeavour: The California Story," had already convinced him to become an astronaut.
Apparently he wasn't dissuaded by the complicated toilet mechanism that was one of the highlights of the show, which will open along with the shuttle display on Oct. 30.
"Almost everybody always says to us, 'What do you eat in space, and how do you go to the bathroom?' So we were thrilled to work with NASA and say, let's not leave the potty and the galley in Endeavour where people can't see it," said Jeffrey Rudolph, CEO of the California Science Center.
The unusual toilet is destined to be a big draw for visitors to the museum southwest of downtown Los Angeles.
"It's not all that natural; you don't have gravity assisting you here," Rudolph said.
Potty aside, the exhibit focuses in large part on the contributions of Southern California's aerospace industry to the construction of all of NASA's space shuttles, including Endeavour, which was built in Palmdale.
Another focus is the reconstructed Rocketdyne Operations Support Center – or ROSC, which is pronounced "rosk." The center,originally located in Chatsworth, controlled the rockets that guided the shuttles into orbit.
"This exhibit tells the California history of Endeavour," said Diane Perlov, senior vice president of exhibits at the center. "People don't realize that, that California had a big role in all of the launches."
The orbiter, which attracted tens of thousands during its three-day journey through the streets of LA and Inglewood earlier this month, will eventually be displayed in the planned Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.
In the meantime, the shuttle will go on display starting Tuesday at a temporary pavilion, also named for major science center donor Samuel Oschin.
Information on tickets and exhibit details are at the California Science Center's website.