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Space Shuttle’s Next Mission A Costly ‘Endeavour’

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — After traveling nearly 123 million miles and spending about 300 days in space, Space Shuttle Endeavour is retiring.

And although it’s next stop to the California Science Center in Exposition Park will be its shortest, that doesn’t mean it comes cheap — the cost of prepping and transporting the shuttle to Los Angeles is expected to run about $29 million.

CBS2 and KCAL9’s Dave Bryan asked Jeffrey Rudolph, the President of the California Science Center, how the effort to raise that money is going seven weeks after it was chosen as the new home for the space shuttle.

“I’d say we’re better than half way there and have a lot of good proposals out and good discussions going on with people,” Rudolph said.

But that’s just the start.

The cost of designing and building a new wing of the science center to house Endeavour and related exhibits will bring the total to an estimated $200 million, all of which will have to be raised.

“That’s a lot of money to raise particularly in this economy, but again, I think the response has been so positive that we’ve heard in the initial discussions with people that I’ve had, that I think we’ll get there,” Rudolph added.

The science center is brainstorming about fundraising ideas like turning the arrival of Endeavour into a citywide celebration and there have been discussions about a possible fundraising concert with big name entertainment.

Nonetheless, this would be a daunting fundraising task for an institution 10 times the size of the science center and although at this point, they haven’t even raised a tenth of the total, there’s no sign they’re overwhelmed.

“At this point I’m really confident with the response that we’re getting from the philanthropic community that we’ll raise the money,” Rudolph said.

Science Center officials say it will likely be five years before all the work is complete but they hope to find a temporary exhibit site to show off Endeavour by next year.

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