Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Past 1:30 a.m., cheers as space shuttle moves -- then, a leak

Endeavour pit stop
Past 1:30 a.m., after staying still for more than five hours for a longer-than-expected pit stop in Leimert Park, a crowd raised their cameras in unison -- a constellation of flashes winking into the night -- and chanted "USA!" as the space shuttle Endeavour finally resumed its march to the California Science Center.

But minutes later, after moving 100 feet, the hundreds of fans hushed. Endeavour ground to a halt again. Crews spotted a hydraulic leak from one of the wheeled trailers under the spacecraft, and rushed to put powder over it.

Such was the increasingly beleaguered move of the space shuttle Endeavour, which began encountering delay after delay by Saturday afternoon after negotiating tight squeezes past trees and poles officials had left intact.

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

The shuttle was supposed to have arrived at the California Science Center at 9 p.m. Saturday, but the delays have meant that Endeavour could arrive past 8 a.m. Sunday -- and perhaps even later.

While crowds thinned out as the night wore on, a hardy core of hundreds still lined up near the Endeavour.

It was bathed in the glow of lights shining from two fire engines in front. Beacons also beamed from the wheeled trailers onto the shuttle's belly, giving it a ghostly glow.

After 2 a.m., crews were still trying to figure out the problem. The engine revved up, and the crowd shouted "yay!" Then off again, eliciting a collective "awwww."

FULL COVERAGE: Endeavour's move through L.A.

By 2:10 a.m., the crowd of 400 began a progressive clap for it to go, as if cheering for the underdog.

Then, three minutes later, Endeavour began its last delicate maneuver -- wiggling its way past trees planted on both sides of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in honor of the slain civil rights leader.

It moved crab-like, dodging the tall pines, and glided underneath power lines that had been pushed a bit more skyward to allow the five-story-tall shuttle to pass.


Maintenance delays push Endeavour arrival to 7 a.m. at earliest

In Exposition Park, a long waiting game in the dark for Endeavour

Space shuttle Endeavour won't arrive at museum until 6 a.m. at earliest

-- Frank Shyong and Joseph Serna in Leimert Park

Photo: During a pit stop, crews work to prepare Endeavour for its final run down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times
Comments () | Archives (0)


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: