Road Trip

8 08 2012

Endeavour’s Route Across Los Angeles and Inglewood

I’ve written before about the dispersal of the Space Shuttle fleet around the United States (see earlier posts here and here) and promised to return to the topic when I knew more about Endeavour’s arrival in Los Angeles. The California Science Center just released the map showing the route the Shuttle will take on surface streets between LAX and the museum, which is located just across Exposition Boulevard from USC.

I’m super excited by the prospect of the move. I volunteer for an affordable housing program that moves historic houses across town every so often; in fact, we’re moving a house tomorrow, an expensive and complicated task. If the move is scheduled for a weekday, it needs to happen when it won’t conflict with peak commuting hours (the house rolls at 9 a.m. tomorrow). A house on a flatbed is a relatively tall object and a few power lines always need to come down along the route. It costs something like $10,000 to cut and reconnect a power line in our county, so the organization always searches for the least “wired” route through town.

Now, imagine moving a spacecraft in Los Angeles, the high-density-traffic capital of the world. There’s a reason the move starts in the middle of the night on October 12 (formal ceremonies are the morning of October 13 at Inglewood City Hall). The route crosses the 405, not a place you want to be during rush hour on a weekday. Ironically, it sounds like a few trees along the route may pose the greatest challenge to the mission’s success. Transport will take all day, so there will be plenty of time to get your space geek on.

I’m trying to decide if I can justify making a trip to Los Angeles to witness the transfer in person. I’m a little attached to Endeavour—I was lucky enough to see it in the VAB at Kennedy Space Center during its decommissioning—and I’d like to see at least one Space Shuttle make its final journey. I’m sure you’ll read about it here if I can make the trip happen for me.

Observatories and Instruments