The Space Shuttle Endeavour
The space shuttle comes to L.A. destined to make the California Science Center its final home where it will be on display for all to see after having made 25 space flights,
The first flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour was May 7, 1992 and this week it is scheduled to make its last run (flight) – to its final destination: the California Science Center (CSC) in Exposition Park. Coming to L.A. has been fraught with weather and logistics issues, and getting it to CSC will be as historic a challenge as the space shuttle itself is.
The three-day trip had been originally planned as a coast –to-coast excursion, with the shuttle leaving the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Center, Florida, on top of a modified 747 Boeing jumbo jet and fly to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Along the way, it was scheduled to make an overnight stop at Johnson Space Center, Texas, and to LAX. During the coast-to-coast, it would also pause briefly in other places, so that many Americans would be able to see Endeavour’s last historic journey.
When it lands at LAX, the shuttle will stay there while the surface roadway itinerary is being prepared for its final journey through the streets of Inglewood and L.A. From there, Endeavour will depart in October on a two-day road trip to the California Science Center Residents in both cities have voiced their concerns about the impending movement through business and residential areas, and the inconveniences that it will cause; primarily the removal of several hundred trees. However, others believe that the historic significance of the shuttle pale in comparison to the removal of the trees especially since the CSC have state that for each tree that is removed, it will be replaced by two.
The projected itinerary from LAX is along La Tijera Blvd. to Manchester Blvd. east through the city of Inglewood. According to Mayor James Butts of Inglewood, accommodations to view the shuttle will be set up at the Forum which is directly along its path to the science center. “Mayor Butts also stated, “We have an opportunity to participate in history and this is going to have a large impact on our children because their city is one of the sites where this monument to man’s innovation and technology will stop; and there’ll be a ceremony and we’re going to involve our children as well because that’s one of the things that you can’t quantify. Our city will receive national exposure.
“Then secondly, when it comes to the trees, the overwhelming majority of the trees are situated on the medians on Manchester (Blvd.) between the other side of La Cienega (Blvd.) and Crenshaw Drive and they are ficus trees.” (The mayor also mentioned that when Manchester Blvd. was paved about three years ago, the roots from the ficus trees extended horizontally and did some damage to the paving, so they were replaced but in the next five years or so, they would have to be replaced again).
“So this was an opportunity to replace those trees, on a two-for-one basis with trees that are more compatible with the paving. At the same time we are going to be able to replace the irrigation on those medians – which has long since been inoperable – and also end up with some landscaping. So according to the Public Works Department, the total investment in the greening of Inglewood – and these trees we’re going to replace them with – will be in with the city’s master arboreous plan. The total will be an estimated $500.000 in the greening of Inglewood. And this will be at no cost to the city.”
When the shuttle reaches Crenshaw Blvd., it will go north and at 79th and Crenshaw Blvd, the city of Inglewood ends and the city of L.A. takes over. From there, it’ll continue north on Crenshaw Blvd. at approximately two miles per hour and then stop at King Blvd. There it will be on display for about two hours. Also, it has been reported that the Debbie Allen Dance Academy will give a performance during that interval at that intersection.
Endeavour will then proceed east on King Blvd. down to Bill Robertson Lane (formerly Menlo Ave.) According to one of the LAPD officers on the shuttle detail, “Unlike the King parade (held in January), there will be no viewing allowed on the sidewalk along King Blvd. Furthermore there will be limited viewing allowed on the sidewalks on Crenshaw Blvd., because parts of Crenshaw is wider.” (Mayor Butts had said the same for sidewalk viewing along Manchester Blvd. in Inglewood).
From the intersection of King Blvd. and Bill Robertson Lane, the shuttle will go north to the California Science Center in Exposition Park. There it will rest.
The Space Shuttle Endeavour was built at a cost of $1.7 billion, the Space Shuttle Endeavour is five-stories tall and 78 feet wide; it has been in operation for over two decades and has circled the earth about 4600 times.