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Endeavour running late to Exposition Park

The space shuttle Endeavour was parked next to Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza at the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard for several hours on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012.
October 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Several delays pushed back space shuttle Endeavour's estimated time of arrival at Exposition Park on Saturday.

See an interactive map of Endeavour's route and viewing locations

The shuttle was estimated to arrive at the California Science Center about 5 a.m. Sunday, hours later after it was first scheduled to arrive by 9 p.m. There was no major single reason for the slowdown - it was the accumulation of many small problems involving maneuvering and maintenance, including a small tree that planners hadn't thought needed removal but ended up bringing the procession to a halt.

Delays by obstacles unexpectedly slowed down the shuttle's journey into the night. Crews were working to light its path.

Along the 12-mile course, people marveled at the engineering, and some rooted for Endeavour when it appeared it might clip a light post. Crowds gathered in front of lnglewood High School before sunrise Saturday to watch Endeavour roll by at about 2 mph. By late afternoon, some 30,000 people were gathered along the final stretch of the journey, according to fire department estimates.

There were at least 34 calls for medical service in and around the shuttle's route. Officials said most were for dehydration. Firefighters were also called to one rubbish fire. There were no arrests.

The shuttle passed by Inglewood City Hall and then headed to the Forum, where it was greeted by cheering spectators late-morning. Thousands of people showed up for the event, including astronauts like Kay Hire, who flew on Endeavour's second-to-last mission. Hire said she is happy to be able to share Endeavour with everyone who visits the Science Center.

"Hopefully when they look at her, they will realize she symbolizes the work of a tremendous team and how working together with all of our ideas can do something fantastic, like fly in space and build the International Space Station," said Hire.

From the Forum, the shuttle headed to the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza on Crenshaw Boulevard, where a celebration was planned. The event was expected to include speeches by politicians and a performance by dancers from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.

Shuttle watchers will have a final chance to see Endeavour at the Bill Robertson parking lot near the California Science Center.

Overnight, the shuttle was able to overcome a key obstacle: crossing the Manchester Boulevard bridge over the 405 Freeway. The nearly 300,000-pound Endeavour rode atop two trailers that were pulled across the bridge by a Toyota Tundra pickup. Traffic was stopped on the freeway below during the crossing, which took about three minutes.

The car company filmed the entire event for a commercial, turning the scene into a movie set with lights, sound and staging. Longtime stuntman Matthew McBride was the driver of the Toyota Tundra, and says a lot of practice was required for the delicate move.

Once on the other side, Endeavour was placed back on its original carrier. The shuttle rested on Manchester Boulevard, where massive crowds gathered to get a glimpse of a piece of American history.

"I am out here because of my grandson. I just wanted to have a memory of him with the shuttle, which is history, for when he gets older," said Carson resident Carolyn Carrington.

The spacecraft's two-day trip to the museum started early Friday when it departed Los Angeles International Airport. The shuttle arrived in Los Angeles last month after doing flyovers across the country. Before Endeavour could travel through the streets, crews chopped down 400 trees, moved cable lines and placed steel plates on the roads.

See an interactive map of Endeavour's route and viewing locations along the way

See photos of Endeavour's historic move to the California Science Center


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