Space Shuttle Endeavour Makes Final Journey through Los Angeles

The retired space Endeavour set off for a trip he has never made: it crawled through Los Angeles on the way to its new home, instead of hurtling through space.

Well-know space shuttle dubbed Endeavour travelled slowly on the street for about two hours before reaching its final destination – a private parking lot where crews will deal with power lines father ahead on the route. Photo: Motohide Miwa/Flickr

The huge ship, which flew more than 115 million miles in its career, landed at Los Angeles about a month ago piggy-backed on a specially-fitted 747, The Telegraph reports.

Since then it has been in an airport hangar and was rolled out for its last journey, which risked causing traffic chaos before it reaches its destination late Saturday.

The shuttle flew for two decades and will become available for public display after arriving at its destination. The space ship was built in southern California and was a workhorse of the US space programme, flying on 25 missions.

“I think it’s awesome that it’s here, it’s great, maybe it’ll excite younger kids to look to the stars and try to do something exciting with their lives, so I think it’s a great thing that the Endeavor is here, and I welcome it to Los Angeles, I mean, it’s 25 million miles its flown, and it still looks brand new,” said bystander Joe Grutzik.

To move the 170,000-pound (77,111-kilogram) shuttle, a specialized 160-wheel carrier is required which typically used to haul oil rigs, bridges and heavy equipment.

“The wheels can spin in any direction, allowing the shuttle to zigzag past obstacles. An operator walks alongside, controlling the movements via joystick. Several spotters along the wings are on the lookout for hazards,” Newser explains.

To clear the path for the five-story-tall Endeavour and its 78-foot (24-meter) wingspan, about half a thousand roadside trees were chopped down, cable and telephone lines were raised, and steel plates were laid down to protect the streets and underground utilities.

Besides, street lights, traffic signals, power poles and parking meters along the way were also temporarily removed.

The space ship mostly travelled on wide boulevards with some boasting as many lanes as a freeway. Which is more, additional preparations were held such as de-energizing power lines while during the move. Southern California Edison warned of outages in the suburb of Inglewood.

To fulfill the task, was invited a Belgian company which specializes in moving massive objects, The Los Angeles Times reports. The high-qualified specialists controlled the transporters that the weathered Endeavour lies on.

“We get to play with some cool toys,” said John Palmer, one of the transporters.

But for the specialists was responsible for driving Endeavour along the 12-mile trek from Los Angeles International Airport to its final resting place at Exposition Park, moving the shuttle was a bit different task.

“This is a lot cooler than we are used to,” another driver said. “I just moved a 2,200-ton bridge in Chicago. It was 450 feet long and almost 100 feet high. This [Endeavour] ain’t big.  It’s just so special.”

“All the stuff we move is big, heavy stuff,” said driver Steve Mitchell, who took the reins earlier from the parking lot.  “But nothing that means as much as this.”

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