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Shuttle to begin last leg of trip to California Science Center

October 11, 2012 | 10:50 pm

Weather permitting and barring any last-minute glitches, the space shuttle Endeavour is set to begin its slow, carefully choreographed journey early Friday from LAX to the California Science Center near USC.

About midnight, the 170,000-pound shuttle is expected to be moved from its hangar at Los Angeles International Airport and start traveling at no more than 2 mph along a 12-mile route that includes Westchester Parkway, La Tijera Boulevard, Crenshaw Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The shuttle will be moved by four computer-controlled transporters that will help it negotiate complex turns and avoid streetside obstacles.

At points along the way, the space vehicle will be inches away from buildings and protrude onto driveways and sidewalks. Because of the enormous weight of the shuttle, thousands of heavy steel plates have been used to reinforce city streets.

FULL COVERAGE: Endeavour's final journey to L.A.

Endeavour is scheduled to arrive at the science center by 9 p.m. Saturday.

En route, the public can see the shuttle at a number of public viewing areas on Friday along Manchester Boulevard in Inglewood, including Isis, Hindry and Glasgow avenues as well as La Cienega Boulevard.

On Saturday, there will be several designated public viewing areas, including the Forum in Inglewood, the intersection of Crenshaw and  Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and certain parking lots in Exposition Park.


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-- Dan Weikel