Maintenance delays push Endeavour arrival to 7 a.m. at earliest
The space shuttle Endeavour was unlikely to reach the California Science Center until 7 a.m. at the earliest, as crews experienced a longer-than-expected delay in reconfiguring the transport system for the final stretch home.
At 1 a.m. Sunday, the shuttle remained at the corner of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards, after having arrived at that intersection at 8 p.m. Saturday for what was supposed to be a two-hour maintenance job.
The original plan called for reconfiguring the two pairs of wheeled motorized trailers, on which the shuttle sits, to move them closer to each other so Endeavour could easily navigate the narrower roadway on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Crews also had to install narrower beams to support the spacecraft.
But crews had to grind off a stuck bolt as well as replace the hydraulic fluid in the rollers while undergoing a shift change.
The shuttle was supposed to arrive at the museum at 9 p.m. Saturday, but encountered lengthy delays as it navigated trees and utility poles. Officials said they wanted to keep as many trees and poles in place as possible. The good news was that the shuttle has survived the move so far without even a scratch, despite passing inches away from buildings and trees.
In the city of Los Angeles alone, 268 trees were cut down for the move (and more than 700 will be replanted as replacements). Officials also had temporarily taken down 223 traffic signals, and more than 100 power lines and utility wires were raised.
--- Joseph Serna, Angel Jennings, and Kate Mather in Leimert Park
Photo: Crews remove one of the steel supporting beams supporting Endeavour for a narrower one. Credit: Joseph Serna / Los Angeles Times