Space shuttle Endeavour arrives at California Science Center

The space shuttle Endeavour moves slowly into its hangar at the California Science Center on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.
October 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The space shuttle Endeavour finally arrived safe and sound at the California Science Center on Sunday after a series of delays.

Endeavour's 12-mile journey to its new home at the museum in Exposition Park began Friday, making steady progress throughout the weekend. It was scheduled to reach its final destination at 9 p.m. Saturday but major slowdowns pushed that time back to around 1 p.m. Sunday.

"I was looking at it going in and this is the first day that I really breathed a sigh of relief, because I know it's ours, it's here," said Kenneth Phillips, curator at the California Science Center.

The shuttle inched along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and finally arrived right in front of the science center shortly after 1 p.m. Now, Endeavour will be rolled onto the driveway and into a temporary covered structure before it's put on display. The exhibit opens Oct. 30.

The delays were due to an accumulation of small problems related to maneuvering and maintenance, including a small tree that planners hadn't thought needed removal but ended up bringing the procession to a halt late Saturday night. Officials said the shuttle also came within less than an inch of several objects along the route.

Despite delays, spectators lined up along the shuttle route, as Endeavour rolled through city streets at a top speed of 2 mph. It passed along Inglewood City Hall, and made stops for public events at the Forum and the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. Thousands of people turned out for the events. The science center said more than a million people came out to see Endeavour.

There were at least 34 calls for medical service in and around the shuttle's route. Officials said most were for dehydration. Firefighters were also called to one rubbish fire. There were no arrests.

On Sunday, the shuttle's move also caused frustrations. Dozens of business owners expected regular traffic in the morning, but it didn't happen.

"There's no traffic, so there's no money," said Adrian Joe, the owner of a clothing business on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. "They're not buying clothes and personally, I'm selling clothes, so I guess I'm out of the picture. Maybe if I had a restaurant it would be a nice business for me today."

The boulevard remained shut down for an additional 12 hours Sunday due to several snags the shuttle experienced Saturday. The ensuing traffic also affected the morning commute for churchgoers and others who take public transportation along the route.

The shuttle arrived in Los Angeles last month after doing flyovers across the country. Before Endeavour could travel through the streets, crews chopped down 400 trees, moved cable lines and placed steel plates on the roads.

See photos of Endeavour's historic move to the California Science Center


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