The space shuttle Endeavour is about to take a unique journey, traveling from Cape Canaveral, Fla. to Los Angeles on the back of a giant jet. But what makes this journey most interesting is the shuttle’s scheduled trip through the streets of LA:
Taking the space shuttle apart and transporting it in pieces just wasn’t possible because of the way it’s covered in heat shield tiles, explains Ken Phillips, curator for aerospace science at the California Science Center, which won a fierce competition last year to get one of NASA’s retired shuttles.
“You couldn’t take the tail off it,” Phillips says. “You can’t pull the wings off and do things like we could with other aircraft.”
So the iconic shuttle will be a surreal sight, moving slowly down wide commercial boulevards and passing places like Starbucks coffee shops and fast-food joints.