The space shuttle Endeavour finally reached its permanent home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon to a cheering group of city leaders and other dignitaries, who expected the arrival of NASA’s youngest shuttle many hours earlier.
Endeavour took a 12-mile journey through city streets, allowing thousands of onlookers to see the NASA orbiter on her final journey to the California museum, reports Boston.com.
While the shuttle has arrived at the compound, it was still inching slowly toward a hangar on the museum’s grounds by mid-Sunday afternoon. Organizers had planned a slow trip, saying that the Endeavour, which has flown at more than 17,000 mph, would trudge along Los Angeles’ streets at just 2 mph for its final voyage.
The estimate turned out to be too generous, as the space shuttle often creeped along at almost undetectable speeds, even stopping for hours because of difficult-to-maneuver obstacles, like trees and light posts on the city’s streets.
Saturday started off promising, with organizers thinking that the shuttle would arrive at the California Science Center by evening. Unfortunately because of accumulated hurdles and hiccups, the shuttle moving project was hours behind by the end of the day, according to The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
While about 400 trees were removed in advance, to avoid situations like Saturday, most of the trees that gave movers problems were not able to be cut down because they were either old or treasured for other reasons. Some were even planted in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
The delays in the Endeavour’s final voyage allowed thousands of people to film and photograph the once-in-a-lifetime event. While the temperatures were only in the mid-70s, several people were treated for heat-related injuries after spending a long day in the sun.
Despite the forced power outages and traffic jams it took to move Endeavour, the crowd was happy and peaceful, with firefighter only having to respond to a sheared hydrant and small rubbish fire.
The Endeavour will now spend time in a hangar at the California Science Center until it goes on display on October 30.