The space shuttle Endeavour is celebrating its final journey on the way to its permanent home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, but instead of flying through space at 17,000 miles per hour, the NASA orbiter is moving at a sluggish two to three miles per hour through the streets of Los Angeles.
Endeavour began her slow journey from the Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center around midnight on Friday, a 12-mile journey that is not expected to end until Saturday night, reports NBC News.
NASA’s youngest space shuttle was transferred to a lighter towing pad and pulled by a Toyota Tundra across Interstate 405 on Friday night, the trickiest part of the journey for the orbiter.
Crews have had to raise power lines and take down street lights and street signs in order to allow the massive space shuttle to successfully navigate the streets of Los Angeles. Most of the shuttle’s journey has been spent on a modified NASA overland transporter, which is driven by four self-propelled, computer-controlled vehicles.
ABC News notes that for her trip across 405, however, the 155,000-pound space shuttle needed extra assistance. Driving the Toyota Tundra that pulled Endeavour across the interstate highway ere Matt McBride, a precision driver who has participated in Toyota commercials and Hollywood blockbusters, and astronaut Garrett Reisman, who launched aboard the Endeavour for his first trip into space in 2008. Reisman stated:
“I do not know how many times I have drove through this intersection going back and forth to LAX. If you told me one day that Endeavour would be sitting here next to Randy’s Donuts, I’d say you were crazy, but here she is. It’s weird, very, very weird, but also really, really cool.”
After 25 space flights during a career that lasted almost 20 years, the space shuttle Endeavour is expected to reach the California Science Center by Saturday evening, marking the end of the journey to her final resting place in Los Angeles.