Space Center opening delayed

DOWNEY - The opening of the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey has been indefinitely postponed as the new center needs more time to get up to speed.The center had been scheduled to open to the public Jan. 31. "Delays with the completion of some of the exhibits and the installation of the Space Mission Simulator are the main reasons for the postponement," Executive Director Jon Betthauser said in a press release. "The additional time will allow the city to move into the building and to ensure operations are functioning as efficiently as possible prior to opening." Mayor Mario Guerra echoed the sentiments. "We will hit the ground running when everything is ready to go," he said. "This will be a great addition to the city of Downey, and a real asset to our community and region. And we want to make sure everything is working smoothly before our grand opening." The center was named an official memorial to the Space Shuttle Columbia by a joint resolution of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The Columbia Memorial Space Center will honor the crew of STS-107 lost on Feb. 1, 2003: Rick Husband, Willie McCool, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Laurel Clark and Ilan Ramon. The center was officially dedicated by the City Council on Nov. 15. The new grand opening date will be later this year and will be announced soon, Betthauser said. ********** Published: January 16, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 39