This week SoCal Connected takes a look at how Southern California has become a hub of space exploration, with the highest concentration of private space travel companies in the world located in the Mojave Desert. While NASA focuses on missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond, lower Earth orbit is now open to private industry. Correspondent Vince Gonzales explores how the US government is looking to private businesses such as Richard Branson's "Virgin Galactic" and Elon Musk' s "Space X" to inherit the mission of lower earth orbit flight. Anyone who can afford the $200,000 ticket can now fly into the weightless vacuum above the earth.
Plus, we report on how the California Science Center won the title to the Space Shuttle Endeavor. 2012 will mark the beginning of a new frontier for space education in Los Angeles, as the Space Shuttle Endeavor embarks on its final journey to the California Science Center. Correspondent Jennifer London reports on how the City of Angels beat out other heavy contenders such as the famed Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, for the coveted piece of space memorabilia. Steve Soboroff, special advisor to the Los Angeles Endeavor project, gives SoCal Connected an exclusive preview of how they intend to move the 180,000 lb spacecraft through LA's concrete jungle from LAX to the Science Center near USC.
Finally, while some private citizens are soon on their way up to space, some are struggling to move up the socioeconomic ladder. Brian Unger looks at how everyday travel is still a luxury for many.