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Endeavour: How big is the shuttle? 'Pretty stinking big'

October 12, 2012 |  5:00 pm

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

The crowds of people surging through the Drollinger parking lot and surrounding intersections in Westchester on Friday seemed dwarfed by the space shuttle they were craning to see.

“Um, it's pretty stinking big and it's super fast,” said Zion Dorsey, 8, a third grader from Westport Heights Elementary School. “Well, I think it's super fast, but I know it's really big."

Endeavour and its companion transporter weigh 170,000 pounds – the equivalent of 30 elephants – and stands five stories tall. The shuttle’s wingspan stretches 78 feet.  

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

Hundreds of people came by Friday to gawk at the behemoth, which paused for an eight-hour photo op Friday during its 12-mile journey -- its final mission -- from LAX to the California Science Center, near USC. 

Endeavour pulled out of a parking lot off Sepulveda and La Tijera boulevards about 1:50 p.m. Friday after crews prepared for the next maneuver -– rolling east on Manchester Avenue toward Crenshaw Drive.

Engineers determined that city streets couldn’t handle the weight of the shuttle and its transporters, so they identified the gas lines, sewers, water pipes, drains and other utilities that needed protection.

TIMELINE: Endeavour's journey through L.A.

In advance of the shuttle’s street-level trek, workers installed nearly 2,700 large metal plates to protect the utilities. Each plate weighs as much as an economy car.

"Oh please, it's not even that big," said Dorsey’s classmate Brooklyn Johnson, also 8, as the Westport students pointed and discussed the shuttle size. "It's like a plane."

Exactly. Despite its hulking appearance, the 21-year-old shuttle is roughly the size of a Boeing 747.

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.


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Photo: People crowd in front of the space shuttle Endeavour while it is parked in the Drollinger parking lot in Westchester. Credit: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times