The Beginning of the End: Endeavour Embarks on Final Journey (Photo Gallery)

By KBJR News 1

The Beginning of the End: Endeavour Embarks on Final Journey (Photo Gallery)

October 12, 2012 Updated Oct 12, 2012 at 1:51 PM CDT

Los Angeles, CA (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Friday morning kicked off the last journey of the space shuttle Endeavour as it makes a painstaking trip through the streets of Los Angeles for the next two days.

The entire transport is a huge undertaking. The city of Los Angeles had to cut down 400 trees and remove 200 street lights, all as part of Endeavour's final mission.

The shuttle departed LAX on its 200,000 pound transport vehicle and began rolling around 2 AM Friday morning.

80 computer controlled wheels are maneuvering Endeavour through the city's streets.

Spectators have been lining the streets since the shuttle began its journey Friday morning for a chance to witness history.

"I've been looking at the shuttle since I was real young," says one spectator Matt Cordner. "8 or 9 I started drawing the thing; thought I'd be an astronaut someday. It's an American dream, it's an American icon, it's an American hero."

After 25 missions, millions of miles in space, the shuttle Endeavour will soon call the California Science Center home.

Captain Mark Kelly served as commander of Endeavour's final space mission and says fans will get an extra treat when visiting the shuttle.

"They're gonna try to display it in the vertical with an external take and solid rocket boosters, like its on the launch pad," says Captain Mark Kelly. "It will be pretty exciting."

But first, Endeavour must make the painstaking 12 mile journey from LAX to the Science Center near downtown LA, dubbed "Mission 26".

With top speeds of just 2 miles an hour, the shuttle will be just inches away from buildings at some points along the route.

Crews also installed steel reinforcements along parts of the streets to accommodate the 78 foot wide, 170,000 pound spacecraft.

An historic move and a homecoming for Endeavour which was built in Southern California and will be the only shuttle displayed on the West Coast.

The estimated coast to coast shipping and handling costs is $28 million, to be paid for by the California Science Center.

The shuttle is expected to reach the Science Center a little before midnight on Saturday. The Endeavour exhibit plans to open on October 30th.

Check out these pictures as space shuttle Endeavour winds its way through LA's streets.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns