EXPOSITION PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Some unusual cargo was hauled through the streets of Los Angeles Wednesday as a pair of massive rocket motors made the last leg of their journey to Exposition Park, where they'll be part of the Space Shuttle Endeavour display.
The 116-foot long motors began their trek from the Mojave Desert Tuesday, traveling across several Southern California freeways and providing a startling sight to drivers.
After an overnight stop in Irwindale, the motors resumed their travels to the California Science Center Wednesday and eventually made their way through surface streets in the downtown L.A. area.
Crowds of students, community members and space enthusiasts welcomed the motors with cheers as they arrived at the Science Center, where they'll be included in the eventual upright display of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, around 9 a.m.
"Just growing up, astronauts were our heroes," said Andy Mariani of San Pedro.
For former astronaut Doug Hurley, it was a full circle moment because he was on the Space Shuttle Endeavor when it lifted off.
"The launch was incredible because it was my first one. Then the first time you look out the window and see the planet... I mean, that changes you forever," he said.
The rocket motors are the major components of the twin Solid Rocket Boosters that were used to help propel the shuttles into space. All of the launch components -- the shuttle, rocket boosters and a massive external fuel tank -- will be included in the vertical display of Endeavour at its new home in the $400 million Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.
Oschin's wife was among the many who celebrated the arrival of the rocket motors.
"My husband didn't live to see this, but this is really his legacy because he loved astronomy, science, math, engineering ... the shuttle is everything rolled into one for my husband and I know he's watching," said Lynda Oschin.
When completed, the display will be the only vertical, launch-ready configuration of a shuttle in the world.
The shuttle Endeavour has been on display horizontally at the Science Center for 11 years. The external fuel tank is already at the Science Center, awaiting its upright positioning in the new display.
So delivery of the Solid Rocket Motors is one of the last major components needed for the arrangement. CSC officials in July officially began the process of creating the vertical display, in what they have dubbed a "Go for Stack" process.
The arrival of the rockets at the California Science Center marked 11 years to the day that the Space Shuttle Endeavour began its captivating crosstown journey from LAX to Exposition Park.
Visitors have until the end of December to see the shuttle in its horizontal position. It could be a few years before you see it again vertically with its rocket boosters.
City News Service contributed to this report.