The space shuttle Endeavour arrived in Los Angeles on Sept. 21 to a multitude of people eagerly waiting for their first glimpse of an icon in space travel.
Crowds thronged streets, hotel rooftops and sidewalks, gazing skyward at the legendary spacecraft, taking photographs, videotaping the event of a lifetime, and remembering the days when NASA launched Endeavour on its various missions, the first on May 7, 1992.
Endeavour has been undergoing preparation at Los Angeles International Airport to make its way across Los Angeles to the California Science Center in Exposition Park. The 122-foot orbiter is scheduled to depart LAX on Friday, Oct. 12, for a two-day, two-mile-per-hour journey through the streets that is being made ready with the removal of trees, temporary street closures, and adjustment of power lines.
The shuttle will leave on its transporter at approximately 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, attempting to clear the airport by 2 a.m. Friday, said Nancy Castles, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles World Airports.
Castles said that residents and airport visitors need to be aware that the area northeast of LAX and Lincoln Boulevard are expected to be impacted by the move.
The shuttle will travel east on Northside Parkway to Lincoln Boulevard, turn left onto McConnell Avenue, and then right onto Westchester Parkway, before arriving at La Tijera Boulevard. The orbiter will then travel to Sepulveda Boulevard and arrive at Manchester Avenue, from where it will travel east into Inglewood and on to Exposition Park.
Prior to departing Westchester, the Endeavour is scheduled to make a nine-hour stop in the parking lot behind a Quiznos and a Sprint wireless store on La Tijera Boulevard near Sepulveda Eastway.
“This is so cool. We are beyond excited that Endeavour has landed at LAX and will be traveling through the streets of Westchester,” said Christina Davis, president and CEO of the LAX Coastal Area Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s arrival has definitely caused some interesting challenges for the residents, businesses and travelers of our area, but at the end of the day, we all realized that this is a very exciting and monumental moment in our history. We welcome the opportunity to greet the space shuttle, but also eagerly await Endeavour’s safe passage to its new home at the California Science Center.”
The shuttle is expected to leave Westchester at approximately 2 p.m., continuing east toward the San Diego Freeway (I-405), making public viewing difficult on its way to Inglewood, officials said.
At 4 p.m., the shuttle should be near the iconic sign at Randy’s Donuts at Manchester and La Cienega boulevards. According to a local resident, Randy’s Donuts has suspended a replica of the Endeavour from the hole in its huge rooftop donut.
The shuttle will need to be moved from the existing transporter to another one to defray any stress, and will require approximately six hours for that task, according to Inglewood police.
A two-hour event is scheduled at The Forum in Inglewood at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, and Hollywood Park public parking will be available starting at 4 a.m.
Power lines at nearly every block will need to be de-energized as the shuttle passes by, said Inglewood police.
Once the shuttle has passed The Forum, it will continue down Manchester to Crenshaw Boulevard, and then north to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, stopping at another celebration near Baldwin Hills Plaza.
The entire journey, approximately 48 hours, is scheduled to conclude at 9 p.m. at the shuttle’s destination. A large crowd is expected to await the arrival at a public parking area at MLK, Jr. Boulevard and Hoover Street.
Members of the Rotary Club of Westchester will have an opportunity to see the Endeavour “up close and personal,” as they have several volunteers on hand to “shepherd the Endeavour as she lingers for several hours in Westchester,” a Rotary member said.
“I am thrilled to get this close to a piece of history. In some ways, Endeavour is about to embark on her most treacherous mission, covering ground she was never designated to navigate,” said Edgar Saenz, local resident and member of the Rotary Club of Westchester.
“I also think Endeavour represents a pendulum swing for Los Angeles. She’s of a piece with L.A. Live, the (Metro) Expo Line, the Tom Bradley (International) Terminal renovation, the Crenshaw Line to LAX, and even the proposed downtown NFL stadium — the essential pieces for a new, hipper, easier-to-navigate, 21st century, techno-aerospace-Twitter-urban experience. I’ll be there Friday with 20 of my friends to chaperone her through my neighborhood.”