Home > Uncategorized > Shuttle inches toward retirement home at LA museum – Businessweek

Shuttle inches toward retirement home at LA museum – Businessweek

October 16, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

When Endeavour rolls down King Boulevard, special attention will be paid to the pine trees planted in honor of the slain civil rights leader.

Endeavour may have circled the globe nearly 4,700 times, but its roots are grounded in California. Its main engines were fabricated in the San Fernando Valley. The heat tiles were invented in Silicon Valley. Its “fly-by-wire” technology was developed in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey.

It’s no longer shiny and sleek, like when it first rolled off the assembly line in the Mojave Desert in 1991 to replace the lost Challenger. As it cruised block-by-block, it’s hard to miss what 123 million miles in space and two dozen re-entries can do to the exterior.

Shuffling Endeavour through city streets was a laborious undertaking — nearly a year in the making. It could not be taken apart without damaging the delicate tiles. Airlifting it was out of the question. So was driving on freeways since it was too massive to fit through underpasses.

There were consequences. Several hundred Inglewood residents suffered hours-long outages when power lines were temporarily snipped. Some businesses lost customers because of street and sidewalk closures.

Such a move is not cheap. The cross-town transport was estimated at $10 million, to be paid for by the science center and private donations.

via Shuttle inches toward retirement home at LA museum – Businessweek.

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