Shuttle Endeavour to land at California Science Center after slow ride on LA Streets

Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The space shuttle Endeavour is seen on launch pad 39a after the rollback of the Rotating Service Structure (RSS), Sunday, May 15, 2011, at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.


The Space Shuttle Endeavour cruises to its new home at the California Science Center soon and on Wednesday officials at the museum outlined the landing plan.

The shuttle will hitch a ride on the back of a Boeing 747 to get here from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. After that comes a two-day crosscountry trip (with one stop for refueling). And NASA Operations Director Stephanie Silton says one of the most treacherous things to beware of: Raindrops

“Any drops of moisture, precipitation, basically can become BBs and tear up the tile," she says.

The Endeavour was hearty enough for 25 missions to space but shuttle tiles are light and delicate. Silton says a Pathfinder plane will fly ahead of the Boeing and Endeavour. If rain starts falling, the flight plan will change.

Once it gets to Los Angeles, the big challenge is making a path for the orbiter, which is about five stories high and has a wingspan of 78 feet. Crews will move trees, telephone poles, power lights and traffic signals to make way.

The Shuttle then takes a slow spin-- topping out at two miles per hour --along Manchester, Crenshaw and King Drive into its retirement spot at the museum.

California Science Center President Jeffrey Rudolph says he hopes the Shuttle inspires a future generation of engineers.

“Humans from the beginning of time have had the great desire to explore," Rudolphs says. "To fly and go into space. It becomes this amazing inspiration that makes kids want to learn more. “

The shuttle display at the California Science Center is expected open to the public starting October 30.

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