The space shuttle Endeavour has touched down for the last time, but its travels aren't over just yet.
Endeavour currently sits at Los Angeles International Airport, where it landed Friday atop a modified Boeing 747 jet after a three-day farewell tour that first took off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shuttle will live out the rest of its days here in the City of Angels, but it's still 12 miles from its final destination, the California Science Center.
And they will not be easy miles. To reach its museum retirement home, Endeavour will chug down surface streets through the heart of Los Angeles at 2 mph or less — a far cry from the space plane's 17,500 mph orbital speed.
Space news from NBCNews.com
The home stretch of Endeavour's final journey begins Oct. 12, when four computer-controlled transport vehicles will roll the shuttle out of its airport hangar. The orbiter is slated to arrive at the California Science Center the next day. [ Photos: Shuttle Endeavour's California Flyover Tour ]
Museum officials have been planning out this trek since shortly after NASA awarded them Endeavour in April 2011. The science center could draw little guidance from history, for the shuttle's street parade will be unprecedented.
"There's nothing that big that's been moved through the center of a city before," Marty Fabrick, who is managing Endeavour's move for the science center, told SPACE.com. "So there really was no playbook."
The space shuttle is too wide (78 feet, or 24 meters) and too tall (58 feet, or 18 m) to cruise unobtrusively down LA's streets like your average SUV. So the museum has been working with city and utilities personnel to remove obstacles along Endeavour's path, Fabrick said.
Some of these obstructions — such as street lights and power lines — will be put back shortly after the shuttle passes by.
"It's a very choreographed operation," Fabrick said. "Literally, there will be hundreds if not thousands of people on the route doing all this work while we're moving Endeavour."
After the shuttle arrives at the science center on Oct. 13, the museum will spend about two weeks touching up the orbiter and its exhibit. Endeavour, which flew 25 space missions between 1992 and 2011, is slated to go on display Oct. 30.
More from TODAY.com
Prince George meets George the marsupial on zoo trip
The latest leg of the royal family’s three-week adventure Down Under brought them to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, whe...
- Miss America defends student suspended for asking her to prom
- Real wedding: After marrying in India, couple plan sleek NYC ceremony
- Ouch! Baseball player hit in face by 90-mph fastball
- Former Columbine student meets other school shooting survivors
- Prince George meets George the marsupial on zoo trip
But even that date won't mark the end of Endeavour's journey. The California Science Center is still working out details of the shuttle's permanent exhibit, which will showcase Endeavour in a vertical position as if ready to launch, flanked by the external tank and solid rocket boosters that helped get it off the ground.
The final exhibit should be all ready to go within five years or so, said California Science Center president and CEO Jeffrey Rudolph.
"It's going to be so awesome," Rudolph told SPACE.com. "I think that moment when you see the whole full stack — it's sort of jaw-dropping. People are just going to go, 'Wow!'"
- Where to See America's Greatest Spaceships (Infographic)
- Endeavour Preparing For New Mission Of Inspiration | Video
- Space Shuttle Endeavour Soars on Final Ferry Flight (Photos)
© 2013 Space.com. All rights reserved. More from Space.com.