Posted: Oct 12, 2012 10:52 AM by Kelly Orsini, NBC News
Updated: Oct 12, 2012 11:01 AM
Space Shuttle Endeavour arrived at its first layover point, a parking lot about two miles from Los Angeles International Airport, early Friday during the first leg of its two-day journey on the streets of Los Angeles to the California Science Center.
The massive shuttle rolled out of a United Airlines hangar around 11:26 p.m., about half an hour before its scheduled departure time.
From LAX Endeavour was set to move at about 2 mph on surface streets toward the science center in Exposition Park, where it will become a museum piece.
People lined streets near the first stage of the shuttle's route to take in the surreal sight of Endeavour, flanked by LAPD officers, as it towered over buildings near LAX.
The shuttle arrived in Westchester for its nine-hour layover at about 5:30 a.m.
The area is not considered an official viewing site for the public, but shuttle fans with cameras surrounded the fenced-off craft.
Some of the 700 volunteers working on the project inspected the orbiter, which spanned nearly 20 parking spaces.
The arrival was about an hour later than planned because of trees that required trimming, but officials said they're in no hurry.
The shuttle is scheduled to leave the parking lot at about 2 p.m.
Endeavour, which made its last space trip in May 2011, is making its journey to the science center on a NASA transporter pulled by four electronically connected vehicles, a trip that is expected to take more than two days.
An operator with an advanced joystick will walk alongside the orbiter, easing it around corners and positioning the shuttle at its layover points.
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