Columbia Memorial Space Science Learning Center in Downey, Calif. Bess Adler / Thornton Tomasetti.

Columbia Memorial Space Science Learning Center



Built on the site of the former NASA Downey campus, the 25,000-square-foot Columbia Memorial Space Center was conceived as a two-story, metal clad, sculptural form. The museum is an official memorial to the Space Shuttle Columbia and honors its lost crew. Thornton Tomasetti provided structural engineering services for the center.

The steel-braced frame structural system is closely integrated with the architectural design to accommodate the variety of display areas and interactive exhibition spaces that educate students on the various aspects of aerospace, including:

» The Challenger Learning Center that features a simulated space mission that tests participants’ decision-making skills.

» A Space Science Discovery Zone that contains a variety of interactive exhibitions that allow visitors to explore the principles of flight, living in space, the search for life beyond earth, and the origins of the universe.

» The Mars Robotics Lab that allows young visitors the opportunity to design and program their own robots to complete a remote exploration mission to Mars.

The Memorial Space Center also includes historical displays detailing the stories of men and women who have contributed to the development of the aviation and aerospace industry in Downey, California.

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