Early Friday morning NASA’s retired space shuttle Endeavour will begin the final phase of its move to California: a two-day road trip from a United Airlines hangar at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) through the streets of Los Angeles to her final destination at the California Science Center in Exposition Park.
Several months ago Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Endeavour’s planned move as the “mother of all parades”. But once the work began in LA to support moving the 170,000 pound Endeavour, those expectations quickly disappeared. With public safety of top priority, parade plans were quickly erased in exchange for the safest possible way to move the orbiter with minimal impact to traffic and to the local communities. Allowing the public to be wherever they want along the route at any time during the move was simply no longer an option.
“Due to the tremendous size of Endeavour, streets along with sidewalks will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians to ensure public safety”, announced the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Wednesday afternoon. “Sidewalk closures along the route may be opened as determined by the Unified Command based on street width, fixed obstacles, and public safety issues on a block-by-block basis.”
“Endeavour is a unique item and its transportation presents a unique challenge,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. “Never before has an item of this size traversed our City streets. While this once-in-a-lifetime event is a cause for celebration, public safety remains the City’s top priority. We encourage the public to view Endeavour as it travels through the streets of Los Angeles, but urge that we do so in the safest manner possible.”
- Public Viewing #1: The Forum
A formal event to welcome Endeavour will take place at the Inglewood’s Forum parking lot on Saturday, October 13, between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. The public is encouraged to arrive early, as early as 4:00 a.m. There is ample free parking available at the Hollywood Park Race Track, which opens at 4:00 a.m. as well (Overnight staying is NOT allowed). The Inglewood High School band and students from A-MAN Inc. will escort Endeavour to the Forum, where a number of dignitaries are expected to speak, including:
• Mayor James T. Butts, City of Inglewood
• Congresswoman Maxine Waters, US Congress
• Senator Roderick Wright, California State Senate
• Assemblymember Steven Bradford, California State Assembly
• Jeffery Rudolph, Chief Executive Officer, California Science Center
• Astronaut William Cunningham, Apollo 7
• Hildreth “Hal” Walker, NASA/JPL Ambassador and Founder of A-MAN Inc.
- Public Viewing #2: Intersection of Crenshaw Blvd. and Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Blvd.
At around 2:00 p.m. Saturday, October 13, Endeavour will stop for about a half an hour for a planned event at the intersection of Crenshaw Blvd. and Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Blvd. The 20-30 minute celebration, produced and directed by renowned actress and Emmy award-winning choreographer Debbie Allen, will include over 200 artists featuring the Los Angeles School of Gymnastics, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, taiko drummers, aerialists, and more. There is a dedicated area for the public to stand and view the stage, north on Crenshaw Blvd. from MLK. People are strongly advised to arrive early, as space is very limited at this location.
- Public Viewing #3: California Science Center
Endeavour’s final journey will come to an end Saturday evening around 8:30 p.m., when the orbiter is expected to reach her final destination at the California Science Center in Exposition Park. Large parking lots will be dedicated to public viewing. Four parking lots between Bill Robertson Lane and Vermont Ave., north of MLK will provide ample opportunity to view Endeavour as it moves towards the California Science Center’s Samuel Oschin Pavilion. Public transportation will be available via the Expo Rail and bus line running along Exposition Blvd.
- Day 1 Pedestrian / Public Street Viewing (Friday, October 12)
- Day 2 Pedestrian / Public Street Viewing (Saturday, October 13)
Endeavour will open to the public on October 30 at the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion - a temporary home to house the orbiter while the CSC raises the money needed to design and construct her future permanent home, the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.
When complete, the CSC hopes to display Endeavour in launch configuration, standing vertical and attached to a mock External Fuel Tank and twin Solid Rocket Boosters. With Endeavour as its centerpiece, the Air and Space Center will provide guests with opportunities to investigate atmospheric flight and the exploration of our universe, integrating hands-on exhibits with a unique collection of aircraft and spacecraft to encourage active learning and critical thinking.
The CSC was awarded Endeavour in April of 2011 after a nationwide competition was held by NASA to display their three retired orbiters. Discovery was awarded to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and Atlantis was awarded to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Discovery is already on display, and Atlantis will go on display in a new $100 million exhibit at her home port in Florida later next year.
- Coverage of Endeavour’s move through Los Angeles to her new home at the California Science Center done in cooperation with Zero-G News.