A modified Boeing 747 aircraft, which will be used to transport the Endeavour space shuttle from Florida to Los Angeles, arrived Tuesday at the Kennedy Space Center in preparation for the shuttle's departure next week.
ABC reports that the shuttle is scheduled to take off at from the East Coast on September 17 and will take three days to get to LAX. On the way to L.A., the Endeavour (and the jumbo jet it will be transported on), will make "low flyovers" of certain NASA facilities, spend two nights in Texas and land in L.A. on September 20.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the Endeavour will also make a lap around much of California, flying low for some photo-ops in Golden State cities such as San Francisco and Sacramento.
Since its retirement from service about a year ago, the Endeavour has been changed from a "space-worthy vehicle" to a display piece, according to Collect Space, after the shuttle's engines were removed along with any hazardous materials.
When it arrives in Los Angeles, the Endeavour will be housed in a United Airlines hangar for two to three weeks while final preparations are made for its cross-city trip. The 170,000-pound-shuttle will then travel across the 405 and down Crenshaw Boulevard, where it will stop at Martin Luther King Boulevard for a choreographed celebration.
"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."
In order to make room for the shuttle's trip to the California Science Center, about 400 trees will have to be removed from its path. More than half of these trees are in South L.A.