The Columbia Memorial Space Science Learning Center is located at the Southwest of Los Angeles, in the City of Downey. This interactive museum is dedicated to inspire and educate young generations in the exploration of the universe and the history of aerospace.  The museum is named after the seven members of the Space Shuttle Columbia lost in 2003, during re-entering into the Earth’s atmosphere.

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Built in 2008, the museum is situated in the former NASA Industrial Plant,that was once the home of aeronautics and aircraft manufacturing facility.  Designed by Architectonica, its futuristic building design enhances the experience of traveling in space.  The Innovative 20,000 square foot structure is a combination of metal, glass and fiber optics lights. Embedded in the building facade, these lights simulate constellations of stars, giving a surreal illusion of being out in space. In the courtyard, there’s a space capsule for kids to play and a full-scale Space Shuttle mock-up is scheduled to be added in the near future.

Inside the building, a two story high atrium welcomes visitors to explore and enjoy exhibitions such as; A Shuttle Simulator, using real flight software.  A Robotic Lab, where children are allowed to program a robot, testing their skills on a rescuing mission to Mars. Airplane Design, paper planes are tested on an airplane launcher.  In the process of innovation the Space Center is always looking for ways to bring the community back again, hosting new events and exhibitions most of the time.

Although the design of the Space Center is not perusing an environmental certification, the city of Downey requires a low maintenance landscape design, and the use of reclaimed water for irrigation systems. An easy access to public transportation, bicycle parking, shaded trees and outdoor seating areas conveniently located around the building, provide gathering areas even when the Columbia Memorial Space is closed.

+The Columbia Memorial Space Science Learning Center
+ Architectonica