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Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Journey Adds A Day

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    At every turn of Endeavour's stop-and-go commute through urban streets, a constellation of spectators trailed along as the space shuttle ploddingly nosed past stores, schools, churches and front yards.
    Jeff Gritchen/AFP/Getty Images
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    In an instant, the shuttle crossings became part of history.
    Jeff Gritchen/AFP/Getty Images
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    Having escaped out of Earth's atmosphere two dozen times, Endeavour's slow-speed trek Saturday to its retirement center took it through the working-class streets of southern Los Angeles.
    Wally Skalij/AFP/Getty Images
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    After trundling out of the Los Angeles International Airport on Friday, Endeavour hit the pavement before dawn again on Saturday on a remote-controlled 160-wheel carrier past diamond-shaped "Shuttle Xing" signs.
    Jeff Gritchen/AP
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    On Friday, the shuttle made a late-morning pit stop at the Forum, where it was greeted in the arena's parking lot by a throng of cheering spectators.
    Chris Carlson/AP
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    The 170,000-pound shuttle traveled at no more than 2 mph along a 12-mile route from LAX to its final home at the California Science Center.
    Wally Skalij/AP
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    Along the 12-mile course, people marveled at the engineering. Some rooted for Endeavour when it appeared it might clip a lightpost. Others wondered if it could just hurry up to its destination.
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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    As it wound through South Los Angeles, residents welcomed its presence. Before the move, some lamented over the loss of shade as trees were chopped down to provide clearance.
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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    There were bumps in the road. Several hundred Inglewood residents suffered hours-long outages when power lines were temporarily snipped.
    Wally Skalij/AFP/Getty Images
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    It took nearly a year to plan the Endeavour's laborious shuffle through city streets.
    LUCY NICHOLSON/AP
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    The shuttle could not be taken apart without damaging the delicate tiles. Airlifting it was out of the question, so was driving on freeways since it's too massive to fit through underpasses.
    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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    So for most of the way, Endeavour straddled wide boulevards — Manchester, Crenshaw, Martin Luther King Jr.
    Lucy Nicholson/AP
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    The one exception was when the shuttle poked through a slightly curved residential street lined with apartment buildings on both sides. It was such a squeeze that its 78-foot wingspan towered over driveways.
    Jae C. Hong/AP
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    Such a move is not cheap. The crosstown transport was estimated at $10 million, to be paid for by the science center and private donations.
    Patrick T. Fallon/AP
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    Endeavour was scheduled to inch into the California Science Center late Saturday to spend the rest of its years as a museum piece.
    Rick Loomis/AP

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Update 10/14/12 10:08 a.m. ET: The Excitement Has Passed, But Not The Shuttle

The crowds that cheered the shuttle on Saturday changed their tune after a night of hassles that left the Endeavour still blocking L.A. traffic and threatening trees early Sunday morning.

The Endeavour was supposed to be tucked into its new home, the California Science Center, on Saturday. Now, it's expected to arrive sometime this morning. The AP explains the problems the shuttle has encountered:

"The problems included longer than expected maintenance of the rig carrying the shuttle and physical obstacles within the shuttle's wingspan including light posts, building edges, and most of all trees.

"In a scene that repeated itself many times, a small tree on the narrowest section of the move brought the procession to a stop, forcing crews to find creative ways to dip a wing under or raise it over the tree without having to cut it down."

The AP says the enthusiastic crowds that greeted the shuttle on its journey over the last couple days have dwindled. Our Newscast desk is even reporting some booing.

Our Original Post Continues:

The space shuttle Endeavour picked its way through the streets of Los Angeles on Saturday, creeping slowly toward its final resting place at the California Science Center.

As NPR's Alison Keyes told our Newscast desk, folks in L.A. are used to celebrities, but today's star got an over-the-top welcome:

The giant doughnut in Inglewood dwarfs even the space shuttle Endeavour. i i

The giant doughnut in Inglewood dwarfs even the space shuttle Endeavour. Patrick T. Fallon/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Patrick T. Fallon/AP
The giant doughnut in Inglewood dwarfs even the space shuttle Endeavour.

The giant doughnut in Inglewood dwarfs even the space shuttle Endeavour.

Patrick T. Fallon/AP

"People — cameras and children in tow — are lining the streets as the five-story-tall Endeavour with its 78-foot wingspan winds along its journey at a top speed of 2 miles an hour."

"Streetlights and some power lines had to be moved, and a few trees trimmed in residential neighborhoods as the shuttle rolled by — making occasional stops for throngs of spectators."

The shuttle began its 12-mile journey on Friday, starting out from LAX and passing some of Hollywood's most iconic scenery, including Randy's Donuts, a well-known shop featured in films including 2010's Iron Man 2.

At one literally high point Friday evening, the shuttle rolled across the 405 Freeway on a narrow overpass. The L.A. Times has a video of the crossing and also pays a little respect to the single Toyota Tundra that tugged the shuttle to the other side:

"The Toyota Tundra pulled a total of 292,000 pounds, which includes the weight of the yellow frame supporting Endeavour's belly, officials said. The company said Toyota had tested its Tundra three times leading up to the moment."

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