Endeavour shuttle's terrestrial journey home
It's a surreal sight residents won't soon forget: A hulking space shuttle strutting down city streets, pausing every so often to get its bearings as it creeps toward retirement.
The Endeavour's terrestrial journey began before dawn Friday when it departed from the Los Angeles International Airport, rolling on a 160-wheeled carrier past diamond-shaped "Shuttle Xing" signs.
Hundreds of camera-toting spectators gaped as the 77 000kg Endeavour inched by with its tail towering over streetlights and its wings spanning the roadway.
Over two days, it will trundle 19km at a top speed of 3km/h to its final destination – the California Science Centre where it will be the centerpiece of a new exhibit.
Janet Dion, a family therapist from nearby Manhattan Beach, marveled at the shuttle, its exterior weathered by millions of miles in space and two dozen re-entries.
"You can sense the magnitude of where it's been," Dion says.
The baby of the shuttle fleet, Endeavour replaced Challenger, which exploded during liftoff in 1986, killing seven astronauts. It thundered off the launch pad 25 times, orbited Earth nearly 4 700 times and racked up 198-million kilometers. – Sapa-AP.