NASA Hands over Ownership of Endeavour Shuttle
NASA officially handed over the ownership of its Endeavour shuttle Tuesday in a ceremony in Los Angeles. The shuttle is expected to be transported to the California Science Center by late 2012. NASA

NASA handed over ownership of the defunct Endeavour spacecraft to the California Science Center in Los Angeles during a ceremony Tuesday.

The retired U.S. space shuttle joins three other institutions that will display other retired shuttles including the Enterprise to be house in Manhattan's Intrepid Museum, the Atlantis at Florida's Kennedy Space Center and the Discovery will be in the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington, D.C.

NASA announced the museum placements in April expect for the Discovery, which was known three years ago.

The Endeavour launched on May 16, the last mission in during its 19-years in operation.

NASA is pleased to share this wonderful orbiter with the California Science Center to help inspire a new generation of explorers, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said during the ceremony. The next chapter in space exploration begins now, and we're standing on the shoulders of the men and women of the shuttle program to reach farther into the solar system.

The actual shuttle will still take some time to reach the California museum. After display preparation and post-mission work are complete, NASA will deliver Endeavour on the 747 shuttle carrier aircraft to Los Angeles International Airport. From there, the shuttle will be driven through the streets of Los Angeles to its destination at the Science Center in Exposition Park. The final journey is expected to take place in the latter half of 2012, officials said.

Endeavour now will begin its new mission to stimulate an interest in science and engineering in future generations at the science center, California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph said in a statement.

NASA's space shuttle fleet began on April 12, 1981 and ended on July 21 after the final space shuttle mission, STS-135, when Atlantis landed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.