Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Shuttle reaches final resting place

Spectators take pictures from the roof of a building as the space shuttle Endeavour slowly moves along city streets in Los Angeles (AP)
Spectators take pictures from the roof of a building as the space shuttle Endeavour slowly moves along city streets in Los Angeles (AP)
The space shuttle Endeavour makes its way down Manchester Boulevard in Los Angeles (AP)
The space shuttle Endeavour slowly moves along city streets on a 160-wheeled carrier in Los Angeles (AP)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: The space shuttle Endeavour is transported to the California Science Center in Exposition Park from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on October 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Endeavour was flown cross-country atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to LAX on its last flight ever on September 21. From there, it was transported to the California Science Center in Exposition Park where it will be on permanent public display. Completed in 1991, Endeavour was built to replace the space shuttle Challenger which disintegrated during a catastrophic re-entry accident. This fifth and final space shuttle orbiter circled the earth 4,671 times and traveled nearly 123 million miles during its 25 missions from 1992 to 2011. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
The space shuttle Endeavour makes its way down Manchester Boulevard in Los Angeles (AP)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: The space shuttle Endeavour is transported to the California Science Center in Exposition Park from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on October 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Endeavour was flown cross-country atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to LAX on its last flight ever on September 21. From there, it was transported to the California Science Center in Exposition Park where it will be on permanent public display. Completed in 1991, Endeavour was built to replace the space shuttle Challenger which disintegrated during a catastrophic re-entry accident. This fifth and final space shuttle orbiter circled the earth 4,671 times and traveled nearly 123 million miles during its 25 missions from 1992 to 2011. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
The space shuttle Endeavour slowly moves along city streets on a 160-wheeled carrier in Los Angeles (AP)
Spectators take pictures from the roof of a building as the space shuttle Endeavour slowly moves along city streets in Los Angeles (AP)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: An onlooker takes a picture of the Space Shuttle Endeavour as it is moved slowly along a city street October 12, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. Endeavor is on its last mission - a 12-mile creep through city streets, past an eclectic mix of strip malls, mom-and-pop shops, tidy lawns and faded apartment buildings. Its final destination is the California Science Center in South Los Angeles where it will be put on display. (Photo by Mark J. Terrill-Pool/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: The Space Shuttle Endeavour is moved slowly along a city street October 12, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. The shuttle is on its last mission - a 12-mile creep through city streets, past an eclectic mix of strip malls, mom-and-pop shops, tidy lawns and faded apartment buildings. Its final destination is the California Science Center in South Los Angeles where it will be put on display. (Photo by Mark J. Terrill-Pool/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: A man uses an electronic device to make a self-portrait near the space shuttle Endeavour during a break in its movement as it is transported from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to the California Science Center in Exposition Park where it will be on permanent public display on October 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Endeavour was flown cross-country atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to LAX on its last flight ever on September 21. Completed in 1991, Endeavour was built to replace the space shuttle Challenger which disintegrated during a catastrophic re-entry accident. This fifth and final space shuttle orbiter circled the earth 4,671 times and traveled nearly 123 million miles during its 25 missions from 1992 to 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: A jet lands at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) behind the space shuttle Endeavour during a break in its movement as it is transported from LAX to the California Science Center in Exposition Park where it will be on permanent public display on October 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Endeavour was flown cross-country atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to LAX on its last flight ever on September 21. Completed in 1991, Endeavour was built to replace the space shuttle Challenger which disintegrated during a catastrophic re-entry accident. This fifth and final space shuttle orbiter circled the earth 4,671 times and traveled nearly 123 million miles during its 25 missions from 1992 to 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: Vivian Robinson dresses up and carries a model from the movie E.T. on her bicycle to see the space shuttle Endeavour as it is transported from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to the California Science Center in Exposition Park where it will be on permanent public display on October 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Endeavour was flown cross-country atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to LAX on its last flight ever on September 21. Completed in 1991, Endeavour was built to replace the space shuttle Challenger which disintegrated during a catastrophic re-entry accident. This fifth and final space shuttle orbiter circled the earth 4,671 times and traveled nearly 123 million miles during its 25 missions from 1992 to 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: The space shuttle Endeavour is transported to the California Science Center in Exposition Park from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on October 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Endeavour was flown cross-country atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to LAX on its last flight ever on September 21. From there, it was transported to the California Science Center in Exposition Park where it will be on permanent public display. Completed in 1991, Endeavour was built to replace the space shuttle Challenger which disintegrated during a catastrophic re-entry accident. This fifth and final space shuttle orbiter circled the earth 4,671 times and traveled nearly 123 million miles during its 25 missions from 1992 to 2011. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: The space shuttle Endeavour is transported to the California Science Center in Exposition Park from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on October 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Endeavour was flown cross-country atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to LAX on its last flight ever on September 21. From there, it was transported to the California Science Center in Exposition Park where it will be on permanent public display. Completed in 1991, Endeavour was built to replace the space shuttle Challenger which disintegrated during a catastrophic re-entry accident. This fifth and final space shuttle orbiter circled the earth 4,671 times and traveled nearly 123 million miles during its 25 missions from 1992 to 2011. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: The space shuttle Endeavour is transported to the California Science Center in Exposition Park from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on October 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Endeavour was flown cross-country atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to LAX on its last flight ever on September 21. From there, it was transported to the California Science Center in Exposition Park where it will be on permanent public display. Completed in 1991, Endeavour was built to replace the space shuttle Challenger which disintegrated during a catastrophic re-entry accident. This fifth and final space shuttle orbiter circled the earth 4,671 times and traveled nearly 123 million miles during its 25 missions from 1992 to 2011. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
The space shuttle Endeavour sits in a strip mall as a Hawaiian Airlines jet approaches a runway at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center, its ultimate destination, said Benjamin Scheier of the center. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The space shuttle Endeavour has finally reached its permanent resting place at a Los Angeles museum after a day of delays.

Following a 12-mile journey through city streets watched by thousands of adoring onlookers, flashing cameras and even the filming of a TV commercial, Endeavour arrived at the California Science Centre to a greeting party of city leaders and other dignitaries who had expected it many hours earlier.

Organisers had planned a slow trip, saying the spacecraft that once orbited at more than 17,000mph would move at just 2mph on its final voyage.

But that estimate turned out to be generous, with Endeavour often creeping along at a barely detectable pace when it was not at a dead stop due to difficult-to-manoeuvre obstacles such as trees and lampposts, along with longer than expected maintenance of the rig carrying the shuttle.

In a scene repeated many times, a small tree on the narrowest section of the move brought the procession to a stop, forcing crews to find creative ways to dip a wing under or raise it over the tree without having to cut the tree down.

About 400 trees had already been removed to avoid such situations, but officials said most of the trees that gave them trouble could not be cut down because they were old or treasured for other reasons, including some planted in honour of murdered civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.

The crowd had its problems too. Despite temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius, several dozen people were treated for heat-related injuries after a long day in the sun, according to fire officials. But it was a happy, peaceful crowd, with firefighters having only to respond to a sheared hydrant and a small rubbish fire, and no reports of any arrests. Despite the late problems the mood for most of the day was festive.

At every turn of Endeavour's stop-and-go commute through urban streets, a constellation of spectators trailed along as the shuttle nosed past stores, schools, churches and front yards as it inched through working-class streets of southern Los Angeles.

Unlike other high-profile events like the Academy Awards or the Rose Parade, the procession was centred in some of the area's most economically downtrodden and troubled places. The shuttle passed several gritty areas and shuttered businesses, and rolled down many streets that were aflame two decades earlier during the 1992 riots brought on by the police beating of black motorist Rodney King.

Endeavour may have circled the globe nearly 4,700 times, but its roots are grounded in California. Its main engines were built in the San Fernando Valley, the heat tiles were invented in Silicon Valley, and its "fly-by-wire" technology was developed in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey.

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