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Too slow? Why didn't they just remove Endeavour's wings?

October 12, 2012 |  3:57 pm

PHOTOS: Endeavour rolls through the streets of L.A.

Endeavour’s wings cast a shadow over La Tijera Boulevard, a few feet from spectators lining the road, as the shuttle rumbled into the second leg of its journey toward the California Science Center.

In other places, its wingtips barely skimmed the tops of buildings.

TIMELINE: Endeavour's journey through L.A.

Navigating the narrow curves of Crenshaw Drive on Saturday will be even more of a challenge for the lumbering 21-year-old shuttle. The spacecraft will come within inches of buildings on either side of the street. To give Endeavour as much room as possible, the advance crews created a compacted base of material that will raise the street to the height of the sidewalk.  

Many South L.A. residents and spectators have questioned why the shuttle's wings weren't removed so it could be more easily be transported.

PHOTOS: Endeavour rolls through the streets of L.A.

California Science Center officials have said they want the orbiter to look as authentic as possible. According to the museum's website, NASA can't separate or reattach the wings or tail without "the infrastructure that is provided" in its orbiter, meaning "the vehicle could not be reassembled if it were taken apart."

Removing the wings or tail would also damage the protective tiles on the shuttle, the museum said.

Planning on seeing the shuttle? Send your photos on Twitter to @latimes or Instagram to @latimesphotos with the hashtag #SpotTheShuttle or upload them here — and don't forget to tell us where you are.

Endeavour begins trek to Science Center

Storified by LA Times - LA NOW · Fri, Oct 12 2012 17:24:12

Crowds at Manchester and Hindry for Endeavour. #SpotTheShuttle http://pic.twitter.com/l77WKROYAdolfo Flores
Can you #spottheshuttle ? Endeavor rests near 405 and prepares for next leg of its journey @LANowJoe
Endeavor approaches Manchester and La Cienga #spottheshuttle  http://pic.twitter.com/LO81YWhcWesley Lowery
Crews move equipment into place for Endeavor at Randy's Donuts in Inglewood #spottheshuttle http://pic.twitter.com/NCmsfSS6Joe
Professional and amateur photographers stake their spots along Endeavor's route. #SpotTheShuttle http://pic.twitter.com/MO9c2cQtAdolfo Flores
The Endeavor now crossing into Inglewood. #spottheshuttle  http://pic.twitter.com/Fv5jumjiWesley Lowery
Space shuttle Endeavor crosses Manchester and Osage, prepares to enter Inglewood. #spottheshuttle  http://pic.twitter.com/1AnU8aGtWesley Lowery
officers outside and even some SWAT officers on the roof of 1019 West Art Studios. #SpotTheShuttle http://pic.twitter.com/6Pqcle7JAdolfo Flores
Lance Glover, band member of Health and Beauty, plays audio mixes from Soyuz and Apollo missions. #SpotTheShuttle http://pic.twitter.com/szMxtb09Adolfo Flores
Wow. http://pic.twitter.com/Ysy1o6V4Frank Shyong
The Endeavor at Manchester Blvd and Airport Blvd #spottheshuttle http://instagr.am/p/QsrnuNO1JO/Wesley Lowery
People are starting to gather at Manchester Blvd and Hindry Ave for the shuttle. #SpotTheShuttle http://pic.twitter.com/mllupB6EAdolfo Flores
Crowds gathering in the parking lot of a Seven Eleven as Endeavour approaches. Can you spot it? http://pic.twitter.com/coMCJPhHFrank Shyong
Shuttle's moving! #SpotTheShuttle http://pic.twitter.com/00tNpKFcMarisa Gerber
Downed streetlight at Manchester and Ash in preparation for shuttle maneuvers. http://pic.twitter.com/4k84Wb8hFrank Shyong
A passerby sees a man hawking posters of the shuttle: "That guy's out here to make a dollar. Gotta respect the hustle." #SpotTheShuttleMarisa Gerber
Emeka Dawkins, a third grader at Westport Heights Elementary School, is all about Endeavor. #SpotTheShuttle http://pic.twitter.com/PY3ViYxKMarisa Gerber
#endeavour sighting round 2. The progress is slow after some tree trimmers were called in. #spottheshuttle sepulveda http://pic.twitter.com/3AwEEsiOChristine Mai-Duc
Yup this is happening. #spottheshuttle http://pic.twitter.com/FFIT6loRChristine Mai-Duc
Don't think I've ever seen that traffic sign before...#spottheshuttle http://pic.twitter.com/AbuQUq6AChristine Mai-Duc
Waiting to #spottheshuttle at #LAX. Photographer Bryan Chan confirms the hangar door is open, #Endeavour is on the move. More soon @lanow.Christine Mai-Duc


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-- Kate Mather

Photo: Employees at Firestone get a close view of Endeavour as it passes on La Tijera Boulevard. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Time