Delayed Endeavour prepares to zigzag between MLK pine trees
The delayed space shuttle Endeavour, running about six hours behind, is preparing for its last delicate maneuver -– zigzagging through tall pines lining both sides of Martin Luther King Jr. Bouelvard.
Officials decided that these trees, planted in honor of the slain civil rights leader, were too important to cut down to make way for Endeavour’s journey to its permanent retirement home. So the shuttle will undergo crab-like movements to avoid striking the pines and make its way east toward the California Science Center.
Delays in the shuttle’s move Saturday were caused by slower-than-expected maneuvers through tight squeezes next to trees, utility poles and buildings. Officials said they tried to keep as many trees and poles in place.
Authorities also pointed out that a shuttle has never been moved through major urban neighborhoods before. But the good news is that Endeavour has so far proceeded without even a scratch.
The shuttle arrived at Martin Luther King Jr. and Crenshaw boulevards about 8 p.m. Saturday. Officials expected the spacecraft to stay at that intersection for two hours while crews realigned the wheeled trailers carrying the shuttle for the final 2.5-mile stretch.
The shuttle could arrive at the Science Center past 3 a.m. Sunday, according to people assisting Endeavour’s move. It was supposed to arrive around 9 p.m. Saturday.
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--- Kate Mather in South Los Angeles
Photo: Endeavour approaches Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Saturday night. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times