By now you already know that the Space Shuttle Endeavour journeyed through the streets of Los Angeles as it made way to its new home at the California Science Center. What you may not have known is the shuttle’s 12-mile route over city streets, which included one passage over the 405 Freeway was no ordinary journey.
I was fortunate enough to witness the Endeavour up close as it was towed over the Manchester Boulevard Bridge in Los Angeles and down through the city of Inglewood, CA, and I must say it was spectacular. For weight distribution purposes and fear of the bridge collasaping, the Endeavor required a lighter tow mechanism than other portions of the route when it reached the 405 Freeway overpass. Up until this point and after, Endeavour traveled aboard a specially designed 80-wheel transporter.
The Manchester Boulevard Bridge couldn’t stand up to the weight of both the shuttle and the traditional tow vehicle. To get across the bridge, a Toyota Tundra was used to tow the 145-ton Space Shuttle Endeavour across interstate 405 to cover the five-minute drive. Yes, a Toyota.
VIDEO: The Tundra Endeavour — Mission Accomplished
After several delays and of course once the commercial that Toyota filmed was complete, the Endeavour continued it’s journey down Manchester Blvd where thousands of onlookers were waiting. Because of trees, power lines, street signals, and the fact that the Endeavour only moved 2 miles per hour, the journey was slow, but well-worth the wait. From the crazy onlookers, to the spectators on bikes dressed in aluminum foil hats, I can say waiting until 4AM in the morning to catch an up-close view of Space Shuttle Endeavour’s mission through Los Angeles was amazing.