News And Politics

Endeavour space shuttle coming soon to Crenshaw Boulevard

Aug. 13, 2012, 10:42 a.m.

A rendering of the shuttle's transporter. (Credit: Courtesy of Science Center)

Details about the Endeavour space shuttle's arrival in Los Angeles were released last week, detailing the shuttle's touchdown at LAX and transportation throughout the city to the California Science Center in Exposition Park.

The five-story-tall Endeavour will be transported on top of a NASA Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and is expected to land in L.A. on September 20. Officials say this date is flexible depending on weather conditions in both locations as well as along the flight path.

For two to three weeks, the shuttle will be housed in a temporary United Airlines hangar while final preparations for its transportation and public display are made. The Endeavour is expected to leave LAX on October 12 and head across the 405 freeway.

"This will mark the first, last and only time a space shuttle will travel through 12 miles of urban, public streets," said California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph in a statement. "It's not only one of the biggest objects ever transported down city streets; it's an irreplaceable national treasure."

The 170,000-pound-shuttle will make a stop at Inglewood City Hall before heading to Martin Luther King and Crenshaw boulevards for a choreographed celebration of "Mission 26" with more than 200 musicians, dancers and performers.

"The procession of the Endeavor to its new home at the California Science Center will allow our children to bear witness to history, up close and personally," said Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts in a statement. "We are proud that the City of Inglewood will be involved in this great event."

The Endeavour's exhibit at the museum isn't schedule to open until October 30, but Angelenos are invited to volunteer along the shuttle's route to catch a sneak peek of the 78-foot-wide space shuttle. KPCC has a map of the shuttle's route across the city and reports that "utilities and other street hazards" will have to be removed to make way for its travels.

Dr. Kenneth Phillips of the science center said they are "steeped in details" right now planning for the shuttle's arrival, adding that it's mostly a challenge because they can't disassemble the Endeavour to transport it.

"We've brought objects much larger than the endeavor to the science center," he said, but those objects could be taken apart or separated into more manageable size pieces.

Beginning about six weeks ago, overheard wires along the shuttle's route have been raised to make room for the Endeavour, and science center and NASA officials have driven the course multiple times ensuring there would be enough wingtip clearance, said Phillips.

The exact route for the shuttle is as follows:

- LAX United/Continental Hangar to Northside access road to security gate
- Exit security gate and travel east on Northside Parkway to Lincoln Boulevard
- Cross Lincoln Boulevard bearing left onto McConnell Avenue
- Turn right onto Westchester Parkway to La Tijera Boulevard
- Turn left onto La Tijera Boulevard to Manchester Avenue
- Turn right onto Manchester to Crenshaw Drive
- Turn left onto Crenshaw Drive to Crenshaw Boulevard
- Continue on Crenshaw Boulevard to Martin Luther King Boulevard
- Turn right on King to Bill Robertson Lane
- Turn left on Bill Robertson Lane into Exposition Park
- Travel east into the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center

The shuttle will be on permanent display in the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center -- a special wing of the science center. This $200 million project will be the first time the entire shuttle will be assembled at the Exposition Park site and it will be posed in a vertical position, as if it were about to launch.

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