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A space shuttle's final journey

Shuttle carrier

Preflight: 1

Preflight: 2

Preflight: 3

Preflight: 4

The route to California

Endeavour's arrival in Southern California

Demating: 1

Demating: 2

Demating: 3

Demating: 4

Leaving LAX

Moving the shuttle

The shuttle's new home

The Samuel Oschin Pavilion

The California Story

Earthquake protection

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Getting Endeavour to its final home in Los Angeles required several complex logistical steps. The first challenge involved preparing the shuttle for a cross-country flight atop a specially modified 747.

Before departing Florida, the shuttle underwent a visual inspection. Fuel, other toxic materials and pyrotechnic devices were also removed.

Technicians secured an aerodynamic 10,000-pound tail cone that would help eliminate drag during the flight to California.

Endeavour was raised 60 feet to make room for the 747.

The 747 carrier was towed into place, and the shuttle was then attached to struts that match fittings used on Endeavour when it flew in space.

Endeavour was prepped for its flight from Florida to Los Angeles by mid-September, and the cross-country trip took place on Sept. 20. It featured fuel stops and flyovers of NASA facilities along the way, winding up at Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California.

The shuttle's airborne journey reached the Los Angeles area around 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 21. Endeavor was flown over landmarks that included Los Angeles City Hall, the Getty Center, the Griffith Observatory, Malibu and Disneyland before landing at Los Angeles International Airport. It also passed over the California Science Center in Exposition Park, its new permanent home.

The next step was removal of Endeavour from its Boeing 747 carrier — an operation known as demating. It took about 40 NASA and contract workers roughly 11-12 hours.

Once the 747 was towed into position, a 37,000-pound sling was lowered by two cranes, one from each end.

Once secured, the sling and shuttle were slowly lifted straight up, creating space for the 747 underneath to be backed out.

Shuttle was lowered onto a frame sitting atop self-propelled modular vehicles that moved it into a United Airlines hangar and, later, through the city.

The last leg of Endeavour's journey was overland, starting at LAX and ending at the California Science Center.

With much fanfare, Endeavour was ever-so-slowly transported through the streets of metropolitan Los Angeles during the weekend of Oct. 13-14. Click the play button to see and hear details about how this was accomplished.

About two weeks later, the shuttle went on display. Two locations at the California Science Center are devoted to it. Endeavour and many of its artifacts are in a new pavilion. Video programs, simulators, displays and other artifacts are in California Story on the second floor of the science center.

Visitors can get a close look at the shuttle for the next few years in this building. A permanent home for Endeavor is being built nearby.

Video programs, simulators, displays and other artifacts are in California Story on the second floor of the science center.

Endeavour sits on four seismic isolators. How they work:

California arrival

Flyover of Dryden Flight Research Center and overnight stay at Edwards Air Force Base prior to the final flight to LAX.

New Mexico flyover

Refueling stop at Briggs Army Airfield in El Paso and a flyover of White Sands test facility in Las Cruces, N.M.

Texas stopover

Flyovers of Houston, Clear Lake and Galveston preceded an overnight stop at Ellington Field near NASA's Johnson Space Center.

Gulf Coast flyovers

The flight passed over Florida's Space Coast, including the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Other sites on the route included Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Miss., and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.

Florida departure

Departure from Florida had been delayed two days because of stormy weather.

Morning departure

The shuttle departed Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert in the morning and was flown low over Palmdale, Lancaster, Rosamond and Mojave before heading north.

Northern California sites

Before returning to the L.A. area, Endeavour flew over the Capitol in Sacramento and then turned toward the coast, where it passed over several San Francisco Bay Area museums, including the Chabot Space and Science Center, the Exploratorium, the Bay Area Discovery Museum and the Lawrence Hall of Science, plus the Monterey Bay Aquarium.