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Shuttle Endeavour makes its way through LA streets


LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: The space shuttle Endeavour is transported from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to the California Science Center in Exposition Park where it will be on permanent public display on October 12, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Endeavour was flown cross-country atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to LAX on its last flight ever on September 21.



LOS ANGELES -- NASA's retired space shuttle Endeavour is inching its way down Los Angeles streets on its way to a new home at the California Science Center.

The 5-story tall shuttle left Los Angeles International Airport just before dawn on Friday atop an 80-wheeled to start its 12-mile trek to the museum.

A plodding pace of 2 miles an hour means the shuttle won't reach its destination until Saturday night.

Early morning spectators got to watch Endeavour perform an incredible feat of parallel parking when it backed into a parking lot for a little break at 6 am, reports NBC.

While the shuttle was parked, crews shut down power lines along the its path and raised them to make room for the vehicle, Los Angeles police spokesman Sergeant Rudy Lopez told NBC News.

Crews face a risky night Friday when they try to cross a freeway overpass. The Los Angeles Times describes how the engineers plan to move the shuttle across the I-405 freeway.

The Endeavour, which has a 78-foot wingspan and reaches five stories into the sky, will be moved off its transport unit late Friday night and inched over the freeway once it's shifted to a dolly and pulled across the overpass by truck -- the riskiest move in the first leg of getting the shuttle to the California Science Center in Exposition Park.

"This is unlike anything we've ever moved before," Jim Hennessy, a spokesman for Sarens, the contract mover, told AP.

Residents of South Los Angeles were enjoying the view as Endeavour slowly inched past.

“Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!” Lealind Vitello, 7, told the New York Times from outside her elementary school across the street. “It’s parked just in front of the school. I go to that school!”

Her mother, Lisa Vitello, shared her enthusiasm.

“It’s amazing to see it this close, and to know that it’s been in space,” Ms. Vitello said. “To have this piece of history in our little neighborhood is incredible.”

Endeavour retired in May 2011 after flying 123 million miles in its 20-year space career.

Once at the museum, the shuttle will displayed in a temporary, hangar-style metal structure to protect it from the elements, reports NBC News.

A pavilion where Endeavour will stand vertically will open in 2017, said Ken Phillips, aerospace curator at the center.