Endeavour's Final Mission -- Across L.A.
Moving a retired space shuttle from LAX to the California Science Center, 12 miles away through densely populated urban neighborhoods, is no easy task. Residents complained when about 400 trees were cut down (each one will be replaced with two new plantings), but when the huge shuttle actually turned up on their streets over the weekend, it drew admiring crowds. The shuttle's final trip started just before midnight on Thursday and finally reached its new hangar on Sunday afternoon, about 16 hours behind schedule. Bryan Chan, of the Los Angeles Times, created a fascinating time-lapse video showing Endeavour's last trip; click here to watch.
The cross-town trip required months of planning and still had to deal with problems along the way, from interfering trees (a number of large, historic ones that couldn't be cut) and utility poles, to leaking oil from the transport rig. The bill for the project came to about $10 million, according to The Associated Press, to be paid by the science center and private donations. The shuttle exhibit is scheduled to open to the public on Oct. 30. Along with the orbiter, the exhibit will feature videos and artifacts such as the Spacehab flown in Endeavour's payload bay on shuttle mission STS-118.
Getting the shuttle to LAX to begin the cross-town journey also was no easy feat. AVweb contributing editor Glenn Pew spoke with Bill Brockett, who flew the space shuttle carrier, for insight into what's involved in carrying a shuttle piggyback on a 747. Click here to listen.