Endeavour finally reaches permanent LA museum home

Associated Press Modified: October 15, 2012 at 3:18 am •  Published: October 15, 2012
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Space shuttle Endeavour was finally lodged at its retirement home Monday following a slow weekend parade through city streets that turned out to be a logistical headache.

After a 12-mile weave past trees and utility poles that included thousands of adoring onlookers, flashing cameras and even the filming of a TV commercial, Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center Sunday — about 17 hours behind schedule.

It sat on the grounds of the museum for several more hours before finally moving toward a hangar.

"It's just a crazy thing that we did but we pulled it off," said Kenneth Philips, curator of aerospace science at the museum.

Movers had planned a slow trip, saying the shuttle that once orbited at more than 17,000 mph would move at just 2 mph in its final voyage through Inglewood and southern Los Angeles.

But that estimate turned out to be generous, with Endeavour often creeping along at a barely detectable pace when it wasn't at a dead stop due to difficult-to-maneuver obstacles like tree branches and light posts.

Despite the holdups, the team charged with transporting the shuttle felt a "great sense of accomplishment" when it made it onto the museum grounds, said Jim Hennessy, a spokesman for Sarens, the contract mover.

"It's historic and will be a great memory," he said. "Not too many people will be able to match that — to say, 'We moved the space shuttle through the streets of Inglewood and Los Angeles.'"

Transporting Endeavour cross-town was a costly feat with an estimated price tag of $10 million, to be paid for by the science center and private donations.

Late Friday, crews spent hours transferring the shuttle to a special, lighter towing dolly for its trip over Interstate 405. The dolly was pulled across the Manchester Boulevard bridge by a Toyota Tundra pickup, and the car company filmed the event for a commercial after paying for a permit, turning the entire scene into a movie set complete with special lighting, sound and staging.

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