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Space shuttle Endeavour's journey to Southern California under way

September 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Space shuttle Endeavour on Wednesday lifted off on its final journey. In just two days, Endeavour will arrive in Los Angeles with great fanfare.

The shuttle left Kennedy Space Center in Florida around 4:15 a.m. PT after being delayed by rain. The shuttle was riding aboard a modified Boeing 747. It is set to make a few stops before heading to its permanent home at the California Space Center.

The shuttle landed near Johnson Space Center in Houston on Wednesday evening. It was scheduled to take off at sunrise Thursday to head to Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.

Endeavour is expected to make low-level flyovers of San Francisco and Sacramento on Friday morning before coming back down toward Los Angeles International Airport around 10:30 a.m.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour will fly at 1,500 feet over many landmarks in the Southland, including Disneyland, the Getty Center, the Griffith Observatory, the California Science Center and Los Angeles City Hall.

It's expected to be an amazing spectacle as it arrives, and authorities are concerned about distracted drivers. Officials held a news conference to urge drivers to keep their eyes on the road, not Endeavour.

"We want people to take in this majestic show as these aircraft make sweeping low-level passes over Southern California's iconic spots," said LAPD Cmdr. Scott Kroeber. "But if you're driving, please drive, and don't try and take in the show simultaneously. We don't want this to be the mother of all distracted driver incidents."

LAX officials said there will be no loitering allowed on airport grounds, and California Highway Patrol officials said there would be extra patrols out.

On Oct. 13, Endeavour will make the 12-mile road trip from LAX to the California Science Center. In the meantime, crews are making sure the ground route is clear of any obstacles, such as trees or power lines. TV cable lines also have been raised in order to clear the shuttle's tail, which is more than 50 feet high.

The Griffith Observatory will open at 6 a.m. Friday for people who want to watch the flyover.


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