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Environment & Science

Newpark Mats smooth Shuttle Endeavour's ride

It's easy to see how Endeavour will be moved over city streets, but when it comes to getting it across a big field, like at the end of its journey at the California Science Center at Exposition Park, how will they keep it from getting bogged down in the dirt?

The answer is DURA-BASE mats, made by Newpark Mats & Integrated Services, based in Louisiana, where the company supports the oil industry, among other focuses.

Company rep Nate Rehm says 900 of the 8x14-foot mats were trucked from a Newpark yard in Colorado. They're high-density polyethylene and are very lightweight for their size (1,000 lbs), but can take up to 600 pounds per square inch. That translates to an ability to carry loads of 7,000,000 pounds ... more than enough to hold the shuttle. "They have a lip system so they lock together, and we lock them in on all four sides using a locking pin that helps make it a continuous surface."

Endeavour may not be the biggest thing Newpark has been involved in moving. Watch below as a World War 2 submarine, the U-505, gets moved into Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry.

Rehm says he and other Newpark reps will be in LA this weekend to make sure their mats are holding up their end of the Endeavour project.