1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Space shuttle Endeavour
collectSPACE.com/Robert Z. Pearlman
Space shuttle Endeavour is seen rolling into its new home, the Samuel Oschin Display Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012.
By
updated 10/15/2012 5:34:24 PM ET 2012-10-15T21:34:24

Space shuttle Endeavour has come to its final stop — finally.

The iconic black and white orbiter, which flew 25 times to space over the past two decades, arrived at the California Science Center (CSC) Sunday afternoon to begin its new mission as a museum exhibit.

Endeavour had been scheduled to pull up at the CSC on Saturday night, but natural and utility obstacles, as well as the need for maintenance of its transporters, slowed the pace of the shuttle's parade and delayed its arrival by a day.

  1. Space news from NBCNews.com
    1. Teen's space mission fueled by social media
      KARE

      Science editor Alan Boyle's blog: "Astronaut Abby" is at the controls of a social-media machine that is launching the 15-y...

    2. Buzz Aldrin's vision for journey to Mars
    3. Giant black hole may be cooking up meals
    4. Watch a 'ring of fire' solar eclipse online

Not that many of the spectators who came out to see the shuttle roll by seemed to mind.

"I walked most of the route, and I can tell you that over a million people were so positive, so encouraging," said science center president Jeffrey Rudolph. "All we heard was 'Wow! Thank you!' and young people saying, 'I want to be an astronaut.'" [ Photos: Shuttle Endeavour's Street Parade ]

"What a phenomenal three days," he added. "I may need some sleep, but it was a great three days."

Arriving at Exposition Park at 11:30 a.m. PDT, Endeavour crossed the finish line of its extended three-day, 12-mile road trip from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) by cutting across the grass on a plank-lined path to enter the CSC's Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Display Pavilion.

Endeavour reached the threshold of the hangar at about 2 p.m. PDT, where it was set to enter through the building's temporarily removed rear wall. Inside the display pavilion, Endeavour will remain atop the modified NASA overland transporter that served as the shuttle's chariot during its traverse of Los Angeles and Inglewood streets.

"Nothing like this has ever been attempted before, and nothing like this will ever be attempted again," L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a press conference Sunday. "This was not just a once-in-a-lifetime event, this was a once event, and I'm heartened and we're all heartened at the reception that all Angelenos have given it."

"Getting the space shuttle from LAX to the science center was no small feat. But you made the Endeavour's final mission a success," the mayor added. "Mission 26, mission accomplished."

The science center plans to open Endeavour's display to the public beginning Oct. 30.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. ‘Closer than 3 brothers:’ 2 Marysvile victims were cousins of gunman

      Two of the four teens injured during Friday's school shooting in Marysville, Washington, were cousins of the attacker Jayl...

    2. 5 reasons you smell bad (and fast fixes that can help)
    3. Katy Perry turns 30! 13 times we celebrated singer's colorful style
    4. What you need to do to get your garden ready for winter
    5. 9-year-old girl writes the tooth fairy an adorably honest letter

Mission complete
Endeavour's transition to the science center got underway last year when NASA awarded the orbiter to the institution and subsequently signed over its ownership. [ Shuttle Endeavour: 6 Surprising Facts ]

Shuttle technicians, who previously readied Endeavour to launch again, instead worked to transform the shuttle from a space-worthy vehicle to a museum-ready display. They removed hazardous materials and also saved some of the orbiter's propulsion system hardware to be possibly reused on future launch vehicles.

Last month, Endeavour crossed the country, flying piggyback from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Los Angeles atop a modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet. The orbiter was then loaded onto the transporter and underwent a few final display preparations while temporarily sheltered in a United Airlines hangar at LAX.

Early Friday morning, Endeavour left the hangar at the airport and began its slow journey to the CSC. The road trip proceeded mostly on schedule until Saturday, when the narrow clearances around street corners, signs, buildings and trees on Crenshaw Boulevard resulted in a series of very slow precision moves.

Dropping well below the 2 mph top speed of Endeavour's four computer-driven, self-propelled vehicles for the vast majority of the trip, the trek was also extended by needing to reconfigure the vehicles to straddle the medians on the wider roads along the shuttle's route.

The four multi-wheeled vehicles were used for the vast majority of the journey. The exception was a brief spell on Friday evening, when the shuttle was towed by a Toyota Tundra pickup truck to rebalance the weight before crossing over the 405 freeway.

In addition to the crowd that gathered to see its arrival at Exposition Park, Endeavour was welcomed by two public celebrations on Saturday: A formal ceremony held at The Forum sports arena in Inglewood, and a dance tribute at the intersection of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King, Jr. boulevards that was choreographed by Debbie Allen.

Due to the delay, the performance proceeded well before Endeavour entered the intersection.

Going back up
Although Endeavour will never fly into space again, it will return to a launch pad of sorts.

The California Science Center plans to build the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, which by 2017 will replace the display pavilion as Endeavour's permanent home. In the new facility, Endeavour will be hoisted vertical and exhibited with a pair of solid rocket boosters and a replica external fuel tank to re-create how the space shuttle looked before liftoff.

The temporary hangar and future center were named after the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Samuel Oschin, whose family foundation donated a "transformational gift" toward the $200 million the science center says it needs to complete Endeavour's exhibit.

Toyota, through an existing partnership with the science center, has pledged to donate up to $500,000 through a "tweet-drive" on its Tundra Endeavour Project website.

The CSC is also inviting its members and supporters to become a part of "Team Endeavour" by sponsoring one or several of the thousands of heat shield tiles that line the shuttle's underbelly. Those who donate $1,000 or more will receive a patch that was packed aboard Endeavour during its ferry flight to California, among other benefits.

The science center is not charging an admission fee to see Endeavour when the pavilion opens. However, due to the volume of visitors anticipated for its debut, the CSC is requiring a timed entry ticket that carries a service charge of $2. The tickets can be reserved through the science center's website.

Editor's Note: If you snapped any photos of Endeavour during its trip through L.A.'s streets and want to share them with SPACE.com, send the pictures, comments and location info to managing editor Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com.

See shuttles.collectspace.com for continuing coverage of the delivery and display of NASA's retired space shuttles.

Follow collectSPACE on Facebook and Twitter @ collectSPACE and editor Robert Pearlman @ robertpearlman. Copyright 2012 collectSPACE.com. All rights reserved.

© 2013 Space.com. All rights reserved. More from Space.com.

Video: Endeavour rolls down the streets of LA

Photos: Space shuttle Endeavour's final trek

loading photos...
  1. Endeavour's new home

    The space shuttle Endeavour arrives at the hangar at the California Science Center for its last stop on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Los Angeles. Endeavour arrived at the museum after a 12-mile parade with thousands of onlookers, ending with a greeting party of city leaders and other dignitaries. (Lawrence K. Ho / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Unfazed by the fuss

    Traymond Harris, left, and Ryan Hudge play basketball as the shuttle Endeavour passes by on Crenshaw Ave. in Inglewood, Calif., on Oct. 13, 2012. The iconic black and white orbiter, which flew 25 times to space over the past two decades, arrived at the California Science Center on Oct. 14 to begin its new mission as a museum exhibit. Endeavour had been scheduled to pull up at the CSC on Oct. 13, but natural and utility obstacles, as well as the need for maintenance of its transporters, slowed the pace of the shuttle's parade and delayed its arrival by a day. (Wally Skalij / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Nosy passerby

    A man takes a photo as space shuttle Endeavour passes by in Inglewood, Calif., on Oct. 13, 2012. Transporting Endeavour cross-town was a costly feat with an estimated price tag of $10 million, to be paid for by the science center and private donations. (Rick Loomis / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Sharing the view

    Children watch from a window as space shuttle Endeavour travels to the California Science Center on Crenshaw Blvd. in Inglewood, Calif., on Oct. 13. (Jeff Gritchen / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. On parade

    The space shuttle Endeavour make its way down Manchester Blvd. in Los Angeles on Oct. 12, 2012. Movers had planned a slow trip, saying the shuttle that once orbited at more than 17,000 mph would move at just 2 mph in its final voyage through Inglewood and southern Los Angeles. But that estimate turned out to be generous, with Endeavour often creeping along at a barely detectable pace when it wasn't at a dead stop due to difficult-to-maneuver obstacles like tree branches and light posts (Chris Carlson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Take a right at the light

    Space shuttle Endeavour makes a right turn onto Manchester Ave. in Los Angeles while being moved from Los Angeles International Airport to its retirement home at the California Science Center in Exposition Park, on Oct. 12. (Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Doughnut break

    Space shuttle Endeavour stops in front of Randy's Donuts as it's transported from Los Angeles International Airport to its retirement home at the California Science Center in Exposition Park in Los Angeles on Oct. 12. (Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Posing with the shuttle

    Mifumi Nakajima takes a picture of her husband, Nozomo Nakajima, holding their children Leigha Nakajima, 3, and Eli Nakajima, 6 mos., in front of the space shuttle Endeavour in a mall parking lot on Oct. 12, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Endeavour is making the journey from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center to go on permanent public display. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Hitting the road

    A police officer stands near space shuttle Endeavour as it leaves Los Angeles International Airport and is transported on city streets to the California Science Center in Los Angeles on Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour began a two-day ground journey atop a massive wheeled transporter to its final resting place at the science center on the edge of downtown Los Angeles. (Jason Redmond / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Dawn of a new era for Endeavour

    Cranes lower the space shuttle Endeavour onto a wheeled platform that will serve as the overland transporter early Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, at Los Angeles International Airport. In a few weeks Endeavour will be towed through city streets to its new home at the California Science Center in downtown Los Angeles. (Bill Ingalls / NASA via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Arriving at LAX

    The space shuttle Endeavour, mounted on a 747 airliner, passes over the 405 freeway in Los Angeles on a low-level flyover at Los Angeles International Airport on Sept. 21, 2012. Endeavour's arrival at LAX completed a three day, cross-country farewell tour. The last leg of the trip, from Edwards Air Force Base to Los Angeles, marked the final airborne journey for any of NASA's three surviving shuttles. In October, Endeavour will travel through Los Angeles' streets to the California Science Center. (Fred Prouser / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Waiting for a view

    Spectators wait for the space shuttle Endeavour to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport on Sept. 21. Hundreds of people turned up as early as 6 a.m. to secure a good viewing spot for the arrival. (Gene Blevins / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Hollywood debut

    The space shuttle Endeavour, perched atop its modified 747 carrier jet, is escorted by two other planes as it passes in front of Los Angeles' Hollywood sign on Sept. 21. (Mike Blake / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Shuttle at the Golden Gate

    The space shuttle Endeavour and its carrier airplane make a pass over San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge on Sept. 21, 2012, during Endeavour's final flight. (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. San Francisco treat

    A spectator takes pictures of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge while waiting for Endeavour on Sept. 21. (John G. Mabanglo / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Back in California

    The space shuttle Endeavour sits atop its carrier aircraft, a 747 jumbo jet, at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California on Sept. 20, 2012. Its arrival at Edwards was a homecoming of sorts for the California-made spacecraft, which was built as a replacement for Challenger. Endeavour made its way to California from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, via Texas. (Jae C. Hong / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Over the mountains

    The space shuttle Endeavour is ferried by NASA's shuttle carrier aircraft over the Organ Mountains in Las Cruces, N.M., on Sept. 20. Endeavour was making its way from Houston's Ellington Field to Edwards Air Force Base in California. (Robin Zielinski / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Honoring the last commander

    Thousands of students and faculty on the Mall of the University of Arizona, left, look up as the Endeavour flies over Tucson on Sept. 20. Also on the campus, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords waves to the shuttle with her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly. Giffords retired from the House after suffering serious head injuries during a 2011 shooting attack. Months after the attack, Kelly served as Endeavour's last space commander. (EPA, Southwest Photo Bank) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Buzzing the Texas State Capitol

    Endeavour flies past the Texas State Capitol in downtown Austin, en route to California on the morning of Sept. 20. (Marco Hanson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Houston, we have a shuttle

    The space shuttle Endeavour and its carrier jet fly over Houston on Sept. 19. Endeavour made an overnight stopover in Houston, the home of Johnson Space Center, which houses the agency's astronaut training facilities and Mission Control. (NASA via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Crowds at Ellington Field

    The Endeavour flies over Ellington Field in Houston on Sept. 19. (David J. Phillip / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Fans in Florida

    Jorgen and Ruth Sabinsky watch as the shuttle Endeavour and its carrier jet fly over Cocoa Beach, Fla., shortly after the start of its cross-country journey from Kennedy Space Center on Sept. 19. (Bill Ingalls / NASA via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Leaving Kennedy Space Center

    Bolted on top of a modified jumbo jet, Endeavour makes its departure from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept. 19. (John Raoux / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Perched for flight

    A bird sits on a stake near the space shuttle Endeavour and its carrier jet at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept. 17, during preparations for the shuttle's cross-country piggyback flight to California. (Bill Ingalls / NASA via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Shuttles face off

    Two space shuttles face each other as Endeavour backs out of the Orbiter Processing Facility and Atlantis is moved out of the Vehicle Assembly Building on Aug. 16, 2012, at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Endeavour was being processed for its piggyback flight to California, while Atlantis was being prepared for display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. NASA's 52-story Vehicle Assembly Building rises in the background. (Roberto Gonzalez / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  1. Image:
    Lawrence K. Ho / Pool via AP
    Above: Slideshow (25) Endeavour's final trek
  2. Image:
    Y. Beletsky / ESO
    Slideshow (12) Month in Space: January 2014

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments