LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Crews over the weekend are expected to begin the process of placing the space shuttle Endeavour on a flatbed trailer in preparation for its next stop – Exposition Park.
The retired orbiter spent its first full day at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday, a day after soaring over the skies of California during its final grand tour.
Thousands across the state flooded streets on Friday to witness the shuttle’s historic flyover.
It departed Edwards Air Force Base about 8:17 a.m. to tour Sacramento and the Bay area before heading back down to Southern California.
The shuttle passed by Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice and looped around downtown Los Angeles before making its way back toward the Getty Center. It eventually landed at LAX about 12:51 p.m.
Endeavour, now permanently grounded, will be towed early next month to the California Science Center where it will be put on display.
Joy Benedict, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, was at LAX Saturday where she said huge crowds were still gathered to watch Endeavour.
She reported, “Folks are lined up, and have been since Saturday morning. They have cameras big and small and binoculars.”
Preparing the Endeavour for display and moving it along city streets will be a painstaking effort. Says Shell Amega of the California Science Center, “The tiles are so sensitive that a finger nail can prick and damage them.”
Next month, the Endeavour will go on a slow, 2 mph, 2-day journey along the 12-mile route, a stark contrast to the 17,000 mph it traveled in space.