NEW: Endeavour reaches its new home at the California Science Center
NEW: Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa declares "mission accomplished"
Obstacles like light poles and trees delayed the shuttle's trip through L.A.
Endeavour will go on public display later this month
The space shuttle Endeavour’s journey of 123 million miles ended Sunday afternoon when it rolled into its final resting place at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where it will go on public display later this month.
It took more than two days for the shuttle to inch its way across the 12 miles from the Los Angeles International Airport to the science center, navigating around trees and light poles along the narrow path.
Dozens of trees were cut down and traffic signs removed to make room for the Endeavour, but in other cases the shuttle’s self-propelled mobile transporter, capable of turning the shuttle 360 degrees, helped the big white bird to zigzag its way around the obstacles.
Now, after 25 space missions in its 22-year career, Endeavour will be parked in a display pavilion built just for the shuttle.
“Mission 26: Mission accomplished!” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
He praised the more than 1,000 police officers and more than 200 firefighters who helped the shuttle maneuver through the city, and the hundreds of thousands who came out for the spectacle.
Science center President Jeff Rudolph said everyone along the route was positive and encouraging.
“Mr. Mayor, I may get kicked for it, but it was the mother of all parades,” he joked, but Villaraigosa agreed.
The shuttle’s trek to the science center was initially expected to end Saturday night, but obstacles and a mechanical issue slowed it down, said Los Angeles Police Sgt. Rudy Lopez.
As Endeavour neared the science center it had to travel down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, lined with Canary Island pine trees dedicated to the late civil rights leader that officials did not want to cut down.
As if to remind the world it was designed for precision, the shuttle moved so carefully past the trees that at certain points, the distance between the orbiter’s wing and the tree was the width of a credit card, said Shell Amega, spokeswo