A Most Difficult Endeavour

Normally, traveling 12 miles (19 kilometers) is not a great distance. But if you are a space shuttle, that trip can be a major (big) headache.

A space shuttle is a space ship or vehicle that travels, well, into space. Endeavour* is an American space shuttle that first went into space in 1992 and flew its last mission (journey into space) in May 2011. In those 19 years, it circled (went around) the Earth 4,600 times and spent nearly 300 days in space. After all of those years in service (working), it is now retired (no longer required to work). In September and October of this year, it will travel from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Los Angeles to its permanent (not to be changed) home at the California Science Center near downtown Los Angeles.

To get to the California Science Center, Endeavour will  fly from Florida to California on the back of an airplane, a Boeing 747.  From the Los Angeles International Airport, it will travel on land 12 miles to the museum.  Endeavour is 57 feet (about 17 meters) long and has a wingspan (from one end of the wing to the other) of 78 feet (nearly 24 meters).

Recently, I was at a birthday party for one of my friends and I met a man who works at the California Science Center.  I knew nothing about this upcoming (soon to happen) move of the Endeavour, but he told me all about it. He said that the museum has been making arrangements for its arrival for months.  The biggest problem is that the space shuttle cannot be dismantled (taken apart) and must travel in one piece.  The route (path) that the space shuttle will travel has been very carefully mapped out (planned).  It will take four days to get this huge ship across the city.  It will also require that power lines (electrical lines bringing power to buildings) and traffic lights (red, yellow, and green lights used to control cars and traffic) be moved, and trees be pruned (cut back; made smaller). The space shuttle will travel at a speed no more than two miles (3.2 kilometers) per hour, and at some points on its journey, it will have less than one foot (.3 meters) of clearance (space) on each side. This will be a major undertaking (project; task).

Once at the museum, it will be place on display (for people to see it), and eventually (sometime in the future), the museum will build an addition (add a building) where it will be placed permanently for visitors to see.

The path that Endeavour will be taking is actually not far from where I live.  I hope to catch a glimpse (brief look) of it as it makes its way through L.A. streets. With luck, it will arrive without incident (with no problems).  It would be ironic (happening in the opposite way that one would expect) if the space shuttle made it through 19 years of space travel unscathed (unharmed; safely) only to meet with problems on its final and most dangerous journey — through Los Angeles streets!

~ Lucy

* The word “endeavour/endeavor” means to try hard to do something or to try to achieve something. The space shuttle is named “Endeavour” spelled with an “OUR.” In American English, we use the spelling “endeavor” with a “OR.” I have no idea why it was named using the British spelling.

Photo Credit: STS-130 Endeavour Rollout6.jpg from Wikipedia 


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10 Responses to A Most Difficult Endeavour

  1. I want to see space shuttle says:

    Thank Lucy for this news! Thank Jeff and you for all the work you have devoted for ESL Podcast! I hope one day I have a change to see you in L.A. Thanks!

  2. Dan says:

    Thanks Lucy!

    I think that with all they have achieved with the space shattle fleet in the last years a mention on the ESLpod’s blog is well deserved.

    Still today when I see a Space shuttle’s take off I get emotional. It was wonderful.
    I mean, it is not the same with today’s new generation of rockets. With the Space Shuttle was different.
    The rocket booster, the orange tank, amazing. If you have not seen the videos I reccomend to see it on Youtube.
    Videos with different cameras from every angle. When I see it I get goose bumps every time.

    Then, there is the difference between countries in lauching a rocket. To me Americans are the best one.
    I am thinking at the classic countdown the American way is cool. The countdown in French, Chinese, Russian is dull.

    You know what, I would have liked to ride on the Space Shuttle even if that meant risking my own life.
    I really envy those who had the opportunity to do that.

    If you look in the eyes of those who rided it and had an expirience on the ISS when interviewed you can see something special.
    Something that can not be expressed with words.

    Thanks Lucy and thank to all the people that have worked for the Space Shuttle program.

  3. el gatufo says:

    Hi Lucy, it has to be great just to watch The Endeavour making its last tour just infront of you, sure it would be
    something to remember or to tell the children once the Endeavour take place in the museum.

    I would like to see it also with my own eyes but I am afrait it is not possible for the moment.

    Thanks a million dear Lucy and enjoy the moment for us too.


  4. Cristobal Romo says:

    Quoted from NASA’s website found here: http://www.nasa.gov/audience/foreducators/stseducation/stories/F_The_Naming_of_Space_Shuttle_Endeavour.html

    The name of the shuttle was decided in a contest.

    The competition was open to K-12 students enrolled in U.S. public and private schools. Interest was high. NASA received 6,154 entries, representing more than 70,000 students.

    Endeavour was the most popular entry, accounting for almost one-third of the state-level winners. The Endeavour was a ship belonging to the British Royal Navy. In their entries, students focused on the vessel’s first voyage under the command of seaman and scientist James Cook in 1769-71. Cook steered Endeavour to Tahiti in the South Pacific to observe and record the rare event of the transit of Venus, a celestial event that allows observers on Earth to see Venus passing across the face of the sun.

    Students drew parallels between astronomy on Cook’s Endeavour and on the space shuttle; the payloads of medicine, science and commerce that were on both the ship and shuttles; and the make-up of the crews, both of which included scientists.

  5. Peter says:

    I don’t get it
    Why don’t strip the shuttle into
    Parts and use those parts to make a new shuttle.
    I know it is an overworked shuttle,still, there must be some pieces left in its structure that could be put in a Better use than putting on display for people to see.
    What is more, they plan on damaging trees to have the duffle pass the area.
    It is not cool at all
    Do You know , how long does it take for those trees to grow back.

    Let me tell u , It will intrigue some public reactions.

  6. rahul bhargava says:

    Thanks Lucy,
    Story is well written,
    After reading this story one can say,,”Its ease to travel in space but its difficult to travel on earth”

  7. Genji says:

    Hi. Lucy.
    Thank you for a dream story.
    I really want to visit LA to meet with Endeavour in near future.

  8. Dan says:


    That’s because the Shuttle program has been shut down.
    They are developing new rockets more effective and cheaper, and also using private companies to carry People and goods out space.


  9. Peter says:

    Dear Lucy,
    Again it is me ,
    You know what ,Maybe I m over reacting to the whole thing.but ,face it sis, they are tilting at windmills. I mean , does really the end justify the means ,condidering All the effort and cost involved.
    You see what I mean?
    I can’t get over the fact that they wanna cut the top of the trees on the way of a man-made structure.
    I m not an environmentalist,still it is too much!!
    Do u feel me.
    I m not a party pooper.
    I mean , I don’t wanna kill the buzz
    I know the shuffle has a historic value and all.
    Neverthless, I personally think , it is not worth moving the bulky object. It is costly and hazardous , safety hazard
    But ,it is just me. And lat time I checked ,nobody goes by me.


    The prig:))

  10. kurumi says:

    Dear Lucy
    Thanks for this topic.
    I have heard about the news before,but didn’t know the inside story.
    And your notes of synonyms always helps me a lot.^^


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