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Shuttle Endeavour Begins 12-Mile Crawl To New Los Angeles Home

The space shuttle Endeavour is seen atop the Over Land Transporter after exiting the Los Angeles International Airport on its way to its new home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles (NASA)closemore
The space shuttle Endeavour is seen atop the Over Land Transporter after exiting the Los Angeles International Airport on its way to its new home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles (NASA)

The Shuttle Endeavour began an incredible 12-mile journey through the streets of Southern California. The trip ends at its new home at the California Science Center.

Perhaps the AP put it best: In space, the shuttle traveled at a blazing 17,500 mph. But this final victory lap through narrow Los Angeles streets will proceed at 2 mph.

In order to move the shuttle through the streets, trees had to be cut and signs and street lights had to be removed. (AFP/Getty Images)
In order to move the shuttle through the streets, trees had to be cut and signs and street lights had to be removed. (AFP/Getty Images)

The AP adds:

Mifumi Nakajima takes a picture of her husband Nozomo Nakajima holding their children Leigha Nakajima, 3, and Eli Nakajima, 6 months, in front of the space shuttle Endeavour parked in a mall parking lot. (Getty Images)
Mifumi Nakajima takes a picture of her husband Nozomo Nakajima holding their children Leigha Nakajima, 3, and Eli Nakajima, 6 months, in front of the space shuttle Endeavour parked in a mall parking lot. (Getty Images)

"Hundreds of spectators, some with pajama-clad children in tow, waited in the predawn darkness. In unison, they held up their cameras and cellphones and gaped as the 170,000-pound Endeavour inched by with its tail towering over streetlights and its wings spanning the roadway.

"It made stop-and-go progress, with some halts to check its balance and to prune trees in its path as it crept past strip malls and storefronts.

"In a massive feat of parallel parking, the shuttle was backed into a shopping center parking lot in the Westchester neighborhood around 5:30 a.m. — later than expected."

The Los Angeles Times reports the two-day journey is a triumph of engineering. The 85-ton shuttle is on a transporter designed by Boeing. It has 80 wheels in 40 pairs that can move in any direction.

The Times produced a must-watch video that shows off all the transporter can do. It's worth a watch.

Endeavour is scheduled to finish its journey tomorrow.

Copyright NPR 2016.

The space shuttle Endeavour leaves Los Angeles International Airport hangar for the streets of Los Angeles in the early morning. (AP)
The space shuttle Endeavour leaves Los Angeles International Airport hangar for the streets of Los Angeles in the early morning. (AP)
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