California fire company helps protect retired space shuttle

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

BREA, Calif.—Cosco Fire Protection, based here, has completed a unique project: installing an expanded fire alarm system that protects the newly retired space shuttle Endeavour.

“It was an exciting project to be involved with due to the public response to the shuttle arrival and all the attention it received,” Cosco senior sales engineer Clinton Jass told Security Systems News in an email interview.

The California Science Center in Los Angeles has been expanded to include the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion, the temporary home of Endeavour. The existing Notifier by Honeywell fire alarm system in the science center was likewise expanded to protect Endeavour’s new shelter, that Northford, Conn.-based company announced in a news release in May. Cosco installed the system for the project, completed last fall.

Endeavour was launched in May 1992 and completed its last mission in May 2011. According to the science center, Endeavour stood out for a number of reasons. It is the first and only shuttle named by schoolchildren; it carried the first African-American female astronaut into space and the first married couple to fly on the same space mission. Another first occurred when four spacewalks were completed in a single shuttle mission.

“The space shuttle is a national treasure and protecting it from fire is critical,” Tony Budrovich, senior vice president of operations for the California Science Center Foundation, said in a statement. “We already had a Notifier NFS2-3030 fire panel in the main California Science Center building, which is located very close to the temporary pavilion—and it made sense to connect the sensors, strobes and other equipment in the pavilion to the system in the main building.”

The pavilion is made of sheet metal and is large enough to house the space shuttle and related displays, the news release said. New fire and electrical rooms were added to the science center to handle the upgrade, the release said.

The NFS2-3030 is Notifier’s largest fire alarm control panel, able to support as many as 3,180 smoke detectors and other addressable initiating devices, according to the company.

Jass said it’s ideal for such an expansion project because the panel “has a large capacity and is capable of voice evacuation and complex programming options.”

One of the challenges of the project, he said, was that “we had to make the fire alarm system operational in the building before the shuttle arrived so the fire marshal would allow it to be moved into the building.”

Then, Jass said, “once the shuttle arrived, one entire wall of the structure was removed so the shuttle could be moved in. We had to make sure the wiring for the devices on the other walls remained functional when the wall was removed. We did this by planning ahead and routing all of the conduit and wiring for these devices around this wall.”

He said the shuttle was moved into the pavilion in October. Construction details on the shuttle’s permanent home, the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, have yet to be released.

Jass said being a part of protecting Endeavour also resonated for a personal reason. “My father worked in the aerospace industry most of his life and was involved with the Apollo and shuttle projects, so I was honored to be involved with this project,” he told SSN.