Sat October 13, 2012
Throngs Follow Space Shuttle Endeavour On Its Final Journey
Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 10:22 am
Update 10/14/12 10:08 a.m. ET: The Excitement Has Passed, But Not The Shuttle
The crowds that cheered the shuttle on Saturday changed their tune after a night of hassles that left the Endeavour still blocking L.A. traffic and threatening trees early Sunday morning.
The Endeavour was supposed to be tucked into its new home, the California Science Center, on Saturday. Now, it's expected to arrive sometime this morning. The AP explains the problems the shuttle has encountered:
"The problems included longer than expected maintenance of the rig carrying the shuttle and physical obstacles within the shuttle's wingspan including light posts, building edges, and most of all trees.
"In a scene that repeated itself many times, a small tree on the narrowest section of the move brought the procession to a stop, forcing crews to find creative ways to dip a wing under or raise it over the tree without having to cut it down."
The AP says the enthusiastic crowds that greeted the shuttle on its journey over the last couple days have dwindled. Our Newscast desk is even reporting some booing.
Our Original Post Continues:
The space shuttle Endeavour picked its way through the streets of Los Angeles on Saturday, creeping slowly toward its final resting place at the California Science Center.
As NPR's Alison Keyes told our Newscast desk, folks in L.A. are used to celebrities, but today's star got an over-the-top welcome:
"People — cameras and children in tow — are lining the streets as the five-story-tall Endeavour with its 78-foot wingspan winds along its journey at a top speed of 2 miles an hour."
"Streetlights and some power lines had to be moved, and a few trees trimmed in residential neighborhoods as the shuttle rolled by — making occasional stops for throngs of spectators."
The shuttle began its 12-mile journey on Friday, starting out from LAX and passing some of Hollywood's most iconic scenery, including Randy's Donuts, a well-known shop featured in films including 2010's Iron Man 2.
At one literally high point Friday evening, the shuttle rolled across the 405 Freeway on a narrow overpass. The L.A. Times has a video of the crossing and also pays a little respect to the single Toyota Tundra that tugged the shuttle to the other side:
"The Toyota Tundra pulled a total of 292,000 pounds, which includes the weight of the yellow frame supporting Endeavour's belly, officials said. The company said Toyota had tested its Tundra three times leading up to the moment."