LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The retired space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to arrive Sept. 20 at Los Angeles International Airport, where it will remain until Oct. 13, when it makes what is expected to be a celebratory 12-mile procession along city streets to the California Science Center.
The shuttle, which will be housed in a temporary hangar at the center until a permanent display pavilion is completed, is expected to open for public viewing on Oct. 30.
NASA announced last year that Endeavour would be permanently housed at the Science Center — returning the shuttle to the state where it was built more than 25 years ago.
Endeavour was built in Palmdale, beginning in 1987, to replace the destroyed Challenger shuttle, which exploded 73 seconds after takeoff on Jan. 28, 1986, killing all seven astronauts aboard. Endeavour was completed in 1991.
Transporting the shuttle from the airport to Exposition Park is expected to be a celebratory affair, but it will also require the trimming or even removal of some trees along the route to accommodate the size of the ship, which has a 78-foot wingspan.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said two trees would be planted for every tree that needs to be removed.
During the transport of the shuttle to Exposition Park, dancer/choreographer Debbie Allen is expected to produce a welcoming event in the Crenshaw area.
The Science Center will become the retirement home of the shuttle, which traveled 115 million miles during 25 flights.
The center in May announced an “extraordinary” donation from the foundation of businessman and philanthropist Samuel Oschin, who died in 2003, to build a new wing of the Science Center to house Endeavour.
The Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, scheduled for completion around 2017, will house the shuttle and contain exhibits focused on scientific and engineering principles related to atmospheric flight and the exploration of space.
Plans for moving the shuttle echo the recent trip of a 340-ton boulder from a Riverside County rock quarry to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on the Miracle Mile as part of the exhibit “Levitated Mass.” That trip took on a festival atmosphere as crowds gathered for the boulder’s unusual 11-night journey across the Southland.
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