Space shuttle Endeavour could arrive at museum past 2 a.m.
Endeavour's move has been slowed for much of Saturday by extremely close trees, utility poles and buildings, and crews have been forced to complete tedious maneuvers to prevent the shuttle from being damaged. Officials said they tried to keep as many trees and poles left in place as possible, but that has led to a slower move.
Another complicating factor was the thousands of people who had lined up along the shuttle's route.
The good news is that the crews have been successful at getting Endeavour through without even a scratch. But the bad news is that people waiting at the museum for Endeavour’s arrival could be in for a very long night. The shuttle originally was expected to arrive about 9 p.m.
"We knew there were tight places going into it," said California Science Center President Jeffrey N. Rudolph. The crowd was "exceeding anything I ever imagined."
Despite the delays, Crenshaw Boulevard was still packed with thousands of people as the sun set, many of them had been waiting since the morning. As Endeavour lumbered by, the crowds cheered.
As of 6:40 p.m., the shuttle had still not reached Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. It was supposed to have arrived there at 2 p.m.
When the shuttle moves east on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on its final stretch, it will encounter even more problems--a section of the street where tall pines planted in honor of the slain civil rights leader will force Endeavour to move like a crab, zigzagging up and down, to avoid the trees.
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--- Kate Mather in South Los Angeles
Photo: Inglewood residents take photos of Endeavour as it rolls along Crenshaw Drive, one of several narrow passages along the route. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times