March 03, 2016

"The tank — an orange behemoth dubbed ET-94 — will begin its journey to the Science Center in Exposition Park, where it will be permanently displayed with Endeavour."

LA Times: Museum officials on Thursday will formally announce the details of ET-94's trip from NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans — a complex logistical mission involving dozens of scientists, engineers, utility workers and police officers. by Hailey Branson-Potts

'In the coming weeks, it will travel by sea, cross the Panama Canal and traverse L.A. streets to its final destination. "This move is a one-off," said Mark Albrecht, director of operations for the company directing the move, Emmert International — which orchestrated the delivery of the 340-ton boulder "Levitated Mass" to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2012. "We move heavy haul all the time. But this move is so big and tall, and the historic nature of it really sets it apart."

'At 66,000 pounds, ET-94 is less than half the weight of Endeavour, but it is longer. Unlike the shuttle, it has no wings, which will make it easier to maneuver on roadways, said Nathan Miranda, who is managing the move for the Science Center. Officials say no trees will have to be uprooted for the move, something that had to be done to accommodate Endeavour.

'For space shuttles, the external tank was, along with twin solid rocket boosters, one of three main sources of fuel. It was the only part of the shuttle stack that was not reusable. It detached about 70 miles above Earth's surface and burned up in the atmosphere. Each launch required a new one. The external tank held up to 1.6 million pounds of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The aluminum tank flexed and vibrated while being pushed by aerodynamic forces of thousands of miles per hour. The tanks were covered with spray-on foam to prevent ice from forming on the outside skin and to insulate the propellants inside. During launch, the foam skin could be several hundred degrees on the outside and several hundred degrees below zero on the inside. ET-94, completed in 2001, was one of three types of external tanks used in the shuttle program. It was called a lightweight tank, intended to propel the shuttle into low-earth orbit. The later version, the super-lightweight tank, could carry more cargo to the International Space Station.'

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