The space shuttle Endeavor has completed its 26th journey, and some would claim its most difficult one at that. After a three-day journey across the country, the space shuttle Endeavor made its final landing in Los Angeles on Friday, September 21st. This marked only the beginning of its 26th mission.
Landing in LAX was just the beginning for the shuttle as it continued its journey to the California Science Center. Trees, power lines, telephone poles, and other obstacles caused several delays, but overall, the journey was entirely successful and without major problems.
Due to the size of the shuttle, streets were reinforced with steel in order to support its weight. Its 78 foot wingspan brought it within only inches of buildings lining the streets of Los Angeles.
One of the Endeavors trickiest maneuvers was its crossing of the 405 freeway. This task proved grueling as the vessel was towed behind a single Toyota Tundra over a narrow ramp. Several L.A. neighborhoods were graced by the presence of the shuttle as it made its 12 mile trek across the city to Exposition Park. Countless onlookers crowded sidewalks to watch the vessel travel at a speed significantly slower than that which it had reached on its journey to space: 2 miles per hour. The total mission cost was nearly 10 million dollars- and this is only the cost for its 12 mile journey from LAX to the museum. The tab was covered, mostly by the California Science Center itself, and also by donations. No part of it was funded by taxpayers.
The last two years have proven to be a pivotal time in the history of space exploration. In 2010, President Obama cut NASA’s Constellation program, thus halting the production of new spacecrafts. Neil Armstrong, the first man to step foot on the Moon passed away in August of this year. Now, the Endeavor is officially retired to its new home in L.A.
The plan, now, for the Endeavor is to reside at the California Science Center to serve as an exhibit for visitors. It will be placed in an upright position just as it had been for its 25 launches into space.