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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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The STS-134 astronauts flew over to KSC on April 27, two days before the aborted launch. They were scheduled to return on May 12 to the Cape in hopes that the launch, now rescheduled for May 16, would go on time.

The April 29 launch of the Shuttle Endeavour has been scheduled, and re-scheduled several times, now to launch of the morning of Monday, May 16.

The pre-flight activities are beginning.

On Thursday, May 12, the Astronauts and their families will again fly from Houston to Kennedy Space Center.

On Friday, the Countdown will officially begin.

Start picking out your viewing sites.

photograph, Carol Anne Swagler for Seine/Harbour® Productions, © 2011

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