Editor's Note: View Endeavour's route on our interactive map and click on the green pins to read more about each of the shuttle's stops along its journey. The red line represents Friday's route and the blue line represents Saturday's route.
Three weeks after dazzling the Southland with low-altitude flyovers of area landmarks, Space Shuttle Endeavour will make history one final time Friday as it begins a journey along city streets to its new home at the California Science Center.
Billed as the largest object to ever be transported on Los Angeles' streets, Endeavour's final journey is an event so unique that officials have deemed it a "once-ever" experience.
"This will mark the first, last and only time a space shuttle will travel through 12 miles of urban, public streets," said California Science Center president Jeffrey Rudolph. "It’s not only one of the biggest objects ever transported down city streets; it’s an irreplaceable national treasure."
Taking advantage of the shuttle's namesake, the California Science Center has deemed the efforts of transporting the 170,000-pound shuttle "Mission 26: The Big Endeavour."
However, for members of the public wishing to see a piece of history roll by at two miles per hour, viewing the shuttle along the 12-mile route may be an Endeavour of its own.
City and police officials said on Wednesday that the public should expect street and sidewalk closures at least one mile ahead of the orbiter, or, one to two hours in advance. Traffic delays due to street closures are also expected.
"It moves when it can and it stops when it has to," Inglewood police Lt. James Madia said last week. "We are anticipating being one mile ahead of the shuttle at all times."
To accommodate the shuttle's 78-foot wing span and 57-foot tail height, power lines will be temporarily de-energized and traffic signals will be removed ahead of the shuttle.
For those hoping for a parade of sorts, officials said that safety issues will prevent viewing the shuttle from public sidewalks for the majority of the route.
"While this once-in-a-lifetime event is a cause for celebration, public safety remains the city's top priority," Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a release. "We encourage the public to view Endeavour as it travels through the streets of Los Angeles, but urge that we do so in the safest manner possible."
Officials said that the best chances to view the shuttle are at the various public rallies planned for the shuttle along the route on Saturday.
For those still wanting to watch from city streets, police said to arrive early, expect large crowds, and be prepared to stand for long hours. For the lucky ones, sidewalks may be opened on a case-by-case basis.
"Sidewalk closures along the route may be opened as determined by the Unified Command based on street width, fixed obstacles and public safety issues on a block-by-block basis," LADOT said Wednesday.
The street closures also have many business owners along the route, such as Parts Haus owner Tim "Tiny" DeLong excited, but also annoyed.
"I want to see the space shuttle but for business I am going to be F'd," said DeLong whose Inglewood auto parts business sits directly adjacent to the shuttle's stopping point ahead of the 405 Freeway crossing.
It had DeLong rethinking the vacation he took two weeks ago.
"I should have taken it this week," he said.
But while the shuttle will both excite and inconvenience the city, the science center said it is worth the temporary headaches to bring a unique national treasure to Los Angeles.
"It is over 30 year old technology but it is still one of the most sophisticated things we have created," said William Harris, Sr. Vice President of Development & Marketing for the California Science Center. "It is probably the most sophisticated machine yet created by man."
Official Public Viewing Locations:
For complete details, see the attached map.
SATURDAY | 8:00 a.m. | Inglewood City Hall
- Shuttle will not stop, but will pass by Inglewood City Hall.
- Large amount of public parking spaces available in city lots.
SATURDAY | 9:00 a.m. | Inglewood Forum
- Endeavour will stop for approximately 30 minutes for a rally.
- The public can start lining up at 4:00 a.m. Saturday, but not any earlier.
- Free public parking available at Hollywood Park.
- Can accommodate more than 10,000 spectators.
SATURDAY | 2:00 p.m. | Crenshaw Blvd. & Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
- The shuttle will stop for 30 minutes for a rally that includes more than 200 performers.
- Space is limited and officials said to arrive early.
SATURDAY | 8:30 p.m. | California Science Center
- The shuttle's final destination will provide ample public viewing opportunities.
- Free parking in four large parking lots between Bill Robertson Lane and Vermont Avenue north of MLK Boulevard.
- Mass transit available via the Expo Rail and the bus line running along Exposition Boulevard.
Endeavour's Route Timeline
Note: Times are subject to change and are based on information from officials as of Wednesday evening.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12:
- 2:00 a.m.- Shuttle exits LAX property from Northside Parkway onto Lincoln Boulevard.
- 4:15 a.m. - Shuttle arrives at the intersection of La Tijera and Sepulveda Eastway at the Drollinger parking lot.
- 4:15 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Endeavour sits as crews up ahead remove street lights and de-energize power lines
- 1:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. - Shuttle travels down Manchester Avenue to Glasgow Avenue, just short of the 405 Freeway overpass.
- 4:15 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. - Endeavour is transferred to a smaller transport vehicle to cross the 405 Freeway on Manchester Avenue.
- 10:15 pm. - Shuttle passes over the 405 Freeway on the Manchester Avenue overpass.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13:
- 8:00 a.m. - Shuttle passes in front of Inglewood City Hall, headed down Manchester Avenue.
- 9:00 a.m. - Shuttle arrives at the Forum in Inglewood for a public rally.
- 9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. - Shuttle travels north on Crenshaw Boulevard.
- 2:00 p.m. - Shuttle arrives at intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard for a public rally and performance.
- 2:30 p.m. - Endeavour heads east down MLK Boulevard until it reaches the science center.
- 8:30 p.m. - The shuttle arrives at the California Science Center.