Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Shuttle rides through LA streets

The space shuttle Endeavour makes its way down Manchester Boulevard 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)
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: 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)
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 continued through the streets of Los Angeles towards its retirement home at a museum.

Endeavour's final mission began when it departed from the Los Angeles International Airport before dawn on Friday, rolling on a 160-wheeled carrier past diamond-shaped "Shuttle Xing" signs.

On Friday evening it stopped as crews spent hours transferring the shuttle to a special, lighter towing dolly.

Then at around midnight, it travelled over a bridge across Interstate 405, an especially tricky part of the complicated journey because of the size of the space craft and width of the bridge.

The shuttle was pulled across the Manchester Boulevard bridge by a Toyota Tundra pickup, and the car company filmed the event for an advert after paying for a permit, turning the entire scene into a movie set complete with special lighting, sound and staging. Police stopped traffic on the motorway below for the duration of the traverse, which took about three minutes.

Crews preparing for the crossing had to take down power lines, leaving about 400 residents of surrounding Inglewood without power for what was expected to be several hours.

Once on the other side, crews began the lengthy process of returning it to the original carrier, before resuming its journey early on Saturday.

Another tricky part comes later in the day when Endeavour treks through a narrow residential street with apartment buildings on both sides. With its wings expected to intrude into driveways, residents have been told to stay indoors until the shuttle passes.

On Friday, hundreds of camera-toting spectators, some with pyjama-clad children in tow, gaped as the 170,000-pound (77,000-kilogram) Endeavour inched by with its tail towering over street lights and its wings spanning the roadway.

Over two days, it will trundle 12 miles at a top speed of 2mph to its final destination - the California Science Centre - where it will be the centerpiece of a new exhibit. It is expected to reach the museum sometime on Saturday evening. After an initial bumpy ride and a brief delay, the shuttle pulled off a massive feat of parallel parking by backing into a shopping centre car park for a layover as crowds cheered.

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