Three weeks after it traversed California and the Bay Area to dazzling effect, the retired NASA space shuttle Endeavour made a much slower but still eye-catching trip through the often-narrow city streets of Los Angeles this weekend, leaving Los Angeles International Airport early Friday morning and arriving at its permanent home at the California Science Center just before dawn on Sunday.
Tens of thousands of bystanders lined the streets throughout the weekend to catch a glimpse of the Endeavor, which had been parked at LAX since arriving on Sept. 21 after a ceremonial flight on the back of a 747 around California, a journey that drew a .
Endeavour flew from 1992 to 2011 and was built to replace the Challenger, which exploded seconds into a 1986 launch that killed all seven crew members on board. Endeavour was taken out of service at the end of the shuttle program.
California Science Center president and CEO, Jeff Rudolph, speaking at the arrival event, thanked the people of Los Angeles and Inglewood for their support as the Endeavour made its way from LAX through city streets.
"I may be kicked for it, but it was the mother of all parades," Rudolph said, drawing applause from the crowd.
The shuttle will be displayed in a temporary hangar-style metal structure to protect it from the elements, according to Reuters. In 2017, a 200-foot-tall (61-meter) structure will open in which Endeavour will stand vertically, said Ken Phillips, aerospace curator at the California Science Center.