Endeavor’s landing at Los Angeles International Airport wasn’t the end of her final journey. She still had to get to the California Science Center, 20 kilometers away, and there was only one way to do it: driving down the streets of LA.
Of course, you can’t just drive a space shuttle through the city — at least, not without attracting a whole lot of attention. And then there are things like trees, buildings, and overhead power lines to think about. The whole journey took two days, including an 8-hour pit stop in a parking lot, and included one memorable moment when the shuttle passed over the I-405 freeway.
Naturally the photographers and videographers were there en masse, producing glorious footage so that those of us who couldn’t be there could imagine that we were. Here are the two best so far, both of which are available in high definition, so fill your screen!
First up, and my favorite: the Los Angeles Times video, with music by Eleni Hassabis (titled “Keeper of the Wind”). My favorite moment is when the crew jacks up the hydraulic lifts holding Endeavor, so that they can carefully maneuver the shuttle past a tree. The massive wing passes inches from the trunk.
Second favorite moment: when the shuttle drives past the directional sign reading “Science Center.”
The video titled “Mission 26 The Big Endeavor” gets points just for the pun in the title. This one has a great scene with the rising moon, and we learn that not all trees were left untouched by the shuttle’s passing. My favorite bits were when Endeavor drives past a car wash (“Hey! Can you hose this off, please?”) and then right over the camera.
Videographer Matthew Givot wrote:
The endeavor started on Thursday night and went on until Sunday night, with very little sleep to no sleep. The only thing that kept us going was pure love of the art and adrenaline. One thing that stood out the most for me, while I was shooting, was the people of Los Angeles. It was so powerful to see the excitement on peoples [sic] faces and the pride of their home town. No matter how many times I would see the Shuttle it would never get old.
Truly a once in a lifetime experience. Imagine taking your child or young relative to the Science Center to see Endeavor, some fifteen years from now, and saying, “I watched when they brought the space shuttle here.” There are very few times in our lives when we realize, in the moment, that we are witnessing history. Everyone in these videos knew.