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After moving from the United Airlines Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport to the adjacent Los Angeles suburb of Westchester, the Shuttle sat in a parking lot for about 8 hours, and then in the afternoon resumed its move on the streets of Los Angeles toward its greatest obstacle, the I-405 bridge on Manchester Boulevard. Here, the shuttle stopped, changed carriers and was dragged across the bridge by a Toyota as part of a commercial.

Location, late Friday at I-405.

Why Toyota? Why not. Moving the shuttle is ghastly expensive with ahead and behind the convoy armies taking down light poles, street signs and stoplights, laying metal plates to protect utilities and trimming (if not cutting down) trees. And after the shuttle passes? Everything must be put back exactly as before by the end of the weekend. So even the streets are being brushed and then scrubbed.

By late Friday crowds had gathered at the I-405 bridge as the shuttle arrived as the California Science Center handed out t-shirts that read “I Love my Space Shuttle” on the front and “Mission 26: THE BIG ENDEAVOUR!” on the back along with a picture of the shuttle and the California Science Center name.

This is nothing short of joyous.

The trek was to continue on Saturday ending mid-evening Saturday with the Endeavour sliding into its temporary new home for the next few years adjacent to the Los Angeles Coliseum. She will was to begin receiving visitors by the end of October.

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Endeavour pulled into a parking lot where only 2-hour parking is allowed early Friday morning, October 12 — and, sure enough, after lunch someone came along and towed her away.

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The Endeavour eases around a corner heading uphill to the Manchester crossing of Interstate 405. This was easily the most challenging part of the move since the shuttle ands its carrier were too heavy to cross the bridge together. The solution? Use a lighter carrier and have a Toyota truck tug her across. Plus! Toyota could make a commercial, pay a ot of money and help defray the huge cost of moving the Endeavour through the streets of Los Angeles. The city has never seen anything like this, and probably never will again.

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Endeavour stopped short of the I-405 crossing a block west where it was transferred to a different carrier. In her trip to the California Science Center near downtown Los Angeles she passed through from Los Angeles into the municipality of Inglewood and then back into Los Angeles. Inglewood, with a much smaller police force, drew on other police agencies including  the California Highway Patrol and the Amtrak police and Amtrak’s police dogs. Amtrak has dogs? — yes, Amtrak has dogs.

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Carol Anne Swagler, Seine/Harbour™ Productions photographer, wears California Science Center livery after being handed a t-shirt which reads “I love my Space Shuttle”. She stands next to a security official who oversaw the security for the media section at the I-405 bridge. Her name is Cookie and she was as good at handling people as anyone we have ever seen.

.These photographs and text are © 2012 by Seine/Harbour® Productions, LLC and Peter M. Crow

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If you follow the 2,700 metal plates on the streets protecting the utilities for 12 miles from the northern side of LAX along the Pacific Coast Highway — along La Tijera and Manchester, Crenshaw and MLK, after 12 miles you wind up here — where a lot of metal plates cover the lawn beside the California Science Center and lead into this building.

Endeavour — is this your new home? Yes, but only for a couple of years when a grander home and tons of nifty exhibits will result in Endeavour being moved again and stood on end. Nonetheless, while waiting for its new digs, this is the metal box where she will reside and meet her admirers.

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California Science Center & NASA’s Shuttle Endeavour, on Thursday October 11, 2012. Photo © 2012 Seine/Harbour™ Productions, LLC.

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At LAX cranes were used to lift the Shuttle off the 747’s back instead of the Mate/De-Mate permanent device that was used at Kennedy Space Center in Florida (shown here). Each Shuttle weighs a slightly different amount when they arrive at their respective museums because of what has been left on and taken off. Endeavour’s flight weight from KSC to LAX was 155-tons.

The Los Angeles Times has done two excellent videos on Endeavour. All are great fun and all are found HERE. Scroll around on the page to find them, and there’s also a 360-degree interactive picture on the arrival of Endeavour atop the 747 at LAX. Great stuff all!

DEMATE One is a time lapse of Endeavour’s demating process which was scheduled to take about 10 hours, beginning at midnight on her day of arrival (September 21, 2012) in front of a United Airlines Hangar at LAX.

ENDEAVOUR ROUTE TO CSC The second time lapse is a two-minute time lapse driving the route the Endeavour will follow through the streets of Los Angeles to the California Science Center on October 12/13, 2012.

Once the demate procedure was completed from the 747, Endeavour was moved into a United Airlines Hangar. Title to Endeavour was transferred to the CSC in 2011, and Endeavour was safed up and certain alternations were made by NASA in an OPF (Orbiter Processing Facility) at the direction of CSC. Then Endeavour was moved to the Vehicle Assembly Building for storage and Atlantis took her place in the OPF so Atlantis could be prepared for delivery to the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Center in November.

Endeavour did not fly to California empty. Tucked inside here were packages of patches designed by NASA for the California Science Center which were to be handed out at the arrival ceremony at LAX in order to commemorate Endeavour’s arrival on the west coast.

Endeavour is the newest of the Shuttle fleet. She was flown to California by at least one member of the crew that picked her up in Palmdale taking delivery in 1991.

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Thursday, the Shuttle Eneavour flies from Houston to Biggs Army Base, Texas (re-fuel), and then spend the night at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour, atop the NASA 747-100, is easy for you to follow across the United States — simply go HERE, and then enter NASA905 as the flight number. The full tail number of the airplane which Endeavour is mated to N905NA. Enter only “NASA905”, however.

Here’s the route:

CLICK to ENLARGE // To track Endeavour as she flies across the United States go to flightaware.com, look midway down the left side of the home page and find this panel. You will find the flight like this: Enter “NASA905″in the “Flight#” panel. That’s all there is to it! :

(Kennedy Space Center, Florida, to Houston’s Ellington Air Force Base — September 19);

(then Houston/Ellington to Biggs Army Airfield/El Paso (re-fuel) to Edwards/Dryden,California — September 20).

(THEN Edwards/Dryden north to Northern California and south landing at LAX between 11 am and Noon — September 21).

Here’s how to track her:

First — go to the link above which will take you to FlightAware — ( http://www.flightaware,com )

Then — find the panel halfway down the lefthand side of the FlightAware home page that looks like the panel directly to your left here. Under “Private Flight Tracker” enter the “Flight/Tail#” — “NASA905”.

Bingo!

This assumes previous flight numbers and designations remain the same for this flight. Don’t egg my house if it proves not to be the case — but it sure ought to be.

MAPS of LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (below — scroll down)

And, beow are maps of LAX. The 747/Endeavour will land on the southern runway paralleling the Imperial Highway at the terminus of Freeway 105 and likely approach, as most aircraft do when landing at LAX, from east, landing to the west toward the Pacific Ocean. Expect it to stop about three-quarters of the way down the runway. Great views of her to the east will be possible for a wide swatch of Los Angeles along the 105.

Note, however: That Mother-of-all-LAX-Planespotting — at the In-n-Out Burger on Sepulveda at the end of the northernmost easternmost end of the runway — will be worthless since the shuttle will be approaching and landing far away to the south.

At the Sepulveda location planes dip almost directly over your head which makes it a great place, especially since the landing lights straddle Sepulveda.

On the other hand, If you’re not expecting it, you might swallow your entire burger and fries in a single gulp when the first one rumbles over you.

At the peak hours as many as 10 planes can land adjacent to you as you sit in line waiting at In-n-Out to get your burgers.

LAX courtesy of Google maps. NASA905 will likely land east to west (right to left) rolling to a stop about 3/4 down the southernmost (bottom) runway. Watching her land from Imperial Highway will be a cinch. Even better would be if you were checked into one of the rooms at the Embassy Suites midway down the runway. No surprise. The hotel is completely booked.

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LAX as it is known to pilots and the FAA. The 747 will spend Thursday night at Dryden/Edwards (high desert north of Palmdale), then head to Northern California before landing at LAX between 11am and Noon. Endeavour will go through the streets of LA on October 12/13, and is expected to open for public viewing at the California Science Center on October 30.

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Endeavour took off from Kennedy Space Center about 7:18am and after flying the Visitors Center, the VAB and a part of the coast, circled back and came back low over the SLF in a final salute. She then turned west toward Houston/Ellington.

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Before taking off from the north to the south, Endeavour/747 taxied the entire length of the SLF, stopping midway down the runway for media and guests.

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Rain threatened and KSC officials debated holding the Endeavour’s departure for a third day, but in the end gave her the greenlight to go.

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Far in the distance, Endeavour banks past the Vehicle Assembly Building where for 20 years her journeys back to space began.

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WEATHER  (again) POSTPONES SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR FERRY FLIGHT — FLIGHT WILL BE NO EARLIER THAN WEDNESDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 19, 2012

(Text of Advisory to Media waiting at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, 3pm Monday, September 17, 2012):

CLICK to ENLARGE // Cockpit, SCA on ground at KSC, September 17, 2012

“NASA managers have postponed the ferry flight of space shuttle Endeavour to Wednesday, Sept. 19.The decision was made to ensure a safe flight for Endeavour and the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

A low pressure front in the northern Gulf of Mexico is generating thunderstorms along the predicted flight path. Managers will hold another weather briefing at 11 a.m. Tuesday.”

This is the second day in which weather along the route of the 747-100 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft N905NA was deemed too risky to send the Endeavour west.

The Shuttle was mounted piggyback onto the 747-100 in two stages on Frday, September 14, and Saturday, September 15, 2012.

NASA added the additional Advisory to Media at 7:30pm EDT, September 17:

SHUTTLE ENDEAVOUR FERRY FLIGHT RESCHEDULED TO SEPT. 19

WASHINGTON — NASA’s ferry flight of space shuttle Endeavour atop the
747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) is rescheduled for Wednesday,
Sept. 19 due to an unfavorable weather forecast along the flight path
on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Endeavour now is expected to arrive at Los
Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Friday, Sept. 21.

On Oct. 11, 2011, NASA transferred title and ownership of Endeavour to
the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The decision to
reschedule the flight was made Monday in coordination with the
science center to ensure a safe flight for Endeavour and the SCA.
Weather predictions are favorable Wednesday for the flight path
between Houston and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where the flight
will originate.

CLICK to ENLARGE The Mate/Demate device is located on the souheastern end of the Shuttle Landing Facility. The shuttle is driven in, then lifted allowing the 747 to be towed in beneath it. Then the shuttle is lowered onto the back of the 747-100 and secured. The process was successfully used for almost 40 years beginning with the early test flights. The primary 747-100, purchased in 1974, had been in commercial use by American Airlines before being acquired by NASA.

In cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration, the SCA is
scheduled to conduct low-level flyovers at about 1,500 feet above
locations along the planned flight path. The exact timing and path of
the ferry flight will depend on weather conditions and operational
constraints. Some planned flyovers or stopovers could be delayed or
cancelled. If the ferry flight is postponed again, an additional
advisory will be issued.

At sunrise on Sept. 19, the SCA and Endeavour will depart Kennedy’s
Shuttle Landing Facility and perform a flyover of various areas of
the Space Coast, including Kennedy, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor
Complex, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base.

The aircraft will fly west and conduct low flyovers of NASA’s Stennis
Space Center in Mississippi and the agency’s Michoud Assembly
Facility in New Orleans. As it arrives over the Texas Gulf Coast
area, the SCA will perform low flyovers above various areas of
Houston and Clear Lake before landing at Ellington Field near NASA’s
Johnson Space Center.

At sunrise on Thursday, Sept. 20, the aircraft will depart Houston,
make a refueling stop at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas, and
conduct low-level flyovers of White Sands Test Facility near Las
Cruces, N.M., and NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air
Force Base in California, before landing around mid-day at Dryden.

Options for the NASA Social at Dryden are being evaluated. Attendees
for the event will be notified by the NASA social media team once
plans are decided.

On the morning of Sept. 21, the SCA and Endeavour will take off from
Dryden and perform a low-level flyover of northern California,
passing near NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.,
and various landmarks in multiple cities, including Sacramento and
San Francisco. The aircraft also will conduct a flyover of many Los
Angeles sites before landing about 11 a.m. PDT at LAX.

Social media users are encouraged to share their Endeavour sightings
using the hashtags #spottheshuttle and #OV105, Endeavour’s orbiter
vehicle designation.

After arrival at LAX, Endeavour will be removed from the SCA and spend
a few weeks at a United Airlines hangar undergoing preparations for
transport and display. Endeavour then will travel through Inglewood
and Los Angeles city streets on a 12-mile journey from the airport to
the science center, arriving in the evening on Oct. 13.

Beginning Oct. 30, the shuttle will be on display in the science
center’s Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion,
embarking on its new mission to commemorate past achievements in
space and educate and inspire future generations of explorers.

Endeavour completed 25 missions, spent 299 days in orbit, and orbited
Earth 4,671 times while traveling 122,883,151 miles.

For information about NASA’s transfer of space shuttles to museums,
visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/transition

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On September 14, 2012, the Shuttle Endeavour was rolled from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the Shuttle Landing Facility (runway) and mated piggyback to NASA’s 707-100 for its ride to Los Angeles beginning Monday morning, September 17, 2012. The Media had to be at the media site by 3:30 am. This picture was taken shortly after the Endeavour had been rolled out of the VAB at 5:15 am.

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Endeavour was towed to the mating device on right. The towing took less than two hours. The Mating Crew arrived at 7 am. This was the final time a shuttle would be mated to a NASA 747-100. The 747, which arrived in Florida earlier in the week, was parking on the tarmac, just out of view to the left.

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Once in the mating device, the Endeavour is attached a slings (yellow). First the nose is lifted, as shown in this picture, then the entire shuttle is raised allowing the 747 to drive in underneath the shuttle. Endeavour is the second of the surviving three NASA shuttles to be sent to a museum. Each shuttle weighs a somewhat different amount. Endeavour, after prepping for the California Science Center, is the lightest of the three. It weighs 155 tons.

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Piggybacking a shuttle to a 747 is an exacting business. NASA officials advised that this final mating would take about 12 hours, similar to the lift-to-mate process when the shuttles were placing on the crawler/transporters in the VAB (see photos of that process elsewhere in this Blog). Weather hastened the process on September 12, 2012, however. Endeavour was rolled out of the VAB at 5 am, and loosely secured to the 747 by 1:30 pm. Final tightening down of Endeavour onto the back of the 747 was left to the following day, September 15, 2012.

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Once the shuttle is secured to the straps, it is lifted and the 747 is towed into the mating device directly under the shuttle. Crews then slowly lower the shuttle onto the 747’s back. This mating of shuttle with the NASA 747-100s was used for more than 35 years without mishap from the beginning of flight tests of the shuttles in the mid-1970s through this final mating.

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The mating is complete. Once the shuttle is completely secured to the 747, a process that was completed the following day, the 747 with shuttle attached was scheduled to be backed out of the mating device early Sunday morning, September 16, 2012. Then, the following morning, the 747 was scheduled to depart Kennedy Space Center at first light, circling KSC and nearby beaches in a final good-bye. Then Endeavour and the 747 headed west, first overflying NASA’s Stennis facility in Mississippi (where the shuttle main engines are now stored) and landing at Ellington AFB south of Houston. The following days Endeavour would fly to El Paso, Edwards Air Force Base, California, and overfly northern California before landing at Los Angeles International Airport on September 20, 2012 (if all goes well).

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Flow Manager Stephanie Stilson (right) talks to a media representative with the 747-100 in the background. Ms. Stilson has been a flow manager overseeing preparation of the shuttles for space for 12 years, and has overseen the preparation of all three shuttles for the museums. With Endeavour going to Los Angeles, only Atlantis remains at KSC. Atlantis is scheduled to go to the KSC Visitors Center on November 2, 2012. Then Ms. Stilson will spend a year at NASA headquarters on a different project beginning in December.

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