October 12, 2012 in Nation/World

AP PHOTOS: Endeavour makes terrestrial journey

The Associated Press Associated Press
 
Chris Carlson photo

Spectators gather to watch the space shuttle Endeavour make its way down Manchester Blvd. in Los Angeles, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour’s 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center, its ultimate destination.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It’s a surreal sight residents won’t soon forget: A hulking space shuttle strutting down city streets, pausing every so often to get its bearings as it creeps toward retirement.

The Endeavour’s terrestrial journey began before dawn Friday when it departed from the Los Angeles International Airport, rolling on a 160-wheeled carrier past diamond-shaped “Shuttle Xing” signs.

Hundreds of camera-toting spectators gaped as the 170,000-pound Endeavour inched by with its tail towering over streetlights and its wings spanning the roadway.

Over two days, it will trundle 12 miles at a top speed of 2 mph to its final destination — the California Science Center where it will be the centerpiece of a new exhibit.

Janet Dion, a family therapist from nearby Manhattan Beach, marveled at the shuttle, its exterior weathered by millions of miles in space and two dozen re-entries.

“You can sense the magnitude of where it’s been,” Dion says.

The baby of the shuttle fleet, Endeavour replaced Challenger, which exploded during liftoff in 1986, killing seven astronauts. It thundered off the launch pad 25 times, orbited Earth nearly 4,700 times and racked up 123 million miles.

Here are some images of the shuttle’s journey:

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