Sunday, October 14, 2012

Watch it: Live video shows Endeavour making its final 'flight' with just inches to spare

Although the space shuttle Endeavour flew its final mission, STS-134, to the International Space Station (ISS) in May 2011, it is taking its final "ride" today. The shuttle is currently moving, or rather crawling, its way toward Exposition Park in Los Angeles, where it will spend the rest of its days.

A live video feed of the trip is below.

As of 7:30 a.m. PT on Sunday, the orbiter was still crawling cautiously down Martin Luther King Blvd. as crowds gathered along both sidewalks. Watching the live video, the shuttle's wings can be seen infringing on the sidewalks at times, forcing onlookers to move. It is expected to reach its final destination at the California Science Center later Sunday morning.

On Saturday, Endeavour rolled at a similarly slow snail's pace through narrow city streets, arriving five hours late at a key checkpoint. Organizers had planned to have the Endeavour arrive at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall at 2 p.m. but it was delayed until somewhat after 7 p.m., five hours behind schedule. The organizers are a coalition that includes the California Science Center and local authorities.

There has been a measure of controversy about the transport of the shuttle, as a number of trees needed to be trimmed along the route to account for the shuttle's wingspan. Workers have downed some 400 trees along the streets to clear a path for Endeavor. However, the Science Center promised to plant more than 1,000 trees to make up for the loss.

In addition to the issues with trees, there was also necessary maintenance for the huge wheeled transporter which is "shuttling" Endeavor.

The shuttle is 122 feet long and 78 feet wide and stands 5 stories tall at the tail. Authorities claim it to be the the largest object to ever move through Los Angeles. Combined with the transporter, its weight is 80 tons.

The Endeavour is expected to begin its career as a public display on Oct. 30, 2012, at the temporary Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion of the museum. A new addition to the Science Center, called the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, is under construction as Endeavour's permanent home.

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