Space shuttle Endeavour rolls into new L.A. home at museum

Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:18am EDT
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By Dana Feldman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The retired space shuttle Endeavour rolled into its retirement home at a museum early on Sunday, in the conclusion of a slow-motion parade through the narrow streets of Los Angeles.

Endeavour arrived at about 10:45 a.m. at Exposition Park, the site of the California Science Center where the shuttle will go on permanent display on October 30 inside a pavilion

"I'm so glad to be living to see this," said Los Angeles native Shirley Green, 78, who was on hand, wearing an American flag scarf, to watch the shuttle arrive at its new home.

Endeavour nosed out of Los Angeles International Airport before dawn on Friday for the 12-mile (19-km) trip to its retirement home. Organizers had expected the shuttle to complete its journey by Saturday evening but it fell behind schedule as crews had to make late adjustments to clear room for it.

The shuttle, which prompted cheers and expressions of awe from spectators as it inched through the city's streets, will become a tourist attraction at the center. Endeavour was largely built in southern California and was a workhorse of the U.S. space program, flying 25 missions.

The trip was delayed in part due to maintenance needed for the massive, wheeled transporter that carried Endeavor and to trim some trees along the route, organizers said.

Endeavour flew from 1992 to 2011 and was built to replace the Challenger, which exploded seconds into a 1986 launch in a mishap that killed all seven crew members on board. Endeavour was taken out of service at the end of the shuttle program.

The shuttle is 122 feet long and 78 feet wide and stands 5 stories tall at the tail, which police said makes it the largest object ever to move through Los Angeles. Its combined weight with the transporter was 80 tons.   Continued...

The retired Space Shuttle Endeavour is seen as it arrives at the California Science Center, in Los Angeles October 14, 2012. Endeavour rolled into its retirement home at the Center early on Sunday, in the conclusion of a slow-motion parade through the narrow streets of Los Angeles. REUTERS/Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times/Pool