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Space shuttle Endeavour: A final 2 m.p.h. mission through Los Angeles

The space shuttle Endeavour began its 2-mph crawl through streets of Los Angeles at about 2 a.m. Friday. A retired laser scientist uses Endeavour's terrestrial crawl as a teaching moment for Los Angeles school children.

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Crews look at the space shuttle Endeavour as it leaves Los Angeles International Airport and is transported on city streets to the California Science Center in Los Angeles, Calif. October 12, 2012.

REUTERS/Jason Redmond

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The space shuttle Endeavor is making its final journey to a Los Angeles museum.

The giant spacecraft began its 2-mph crawl through streets near Los Angeles International Airport at about 2 a.m. Friday. Crowds in the neighborhood lined the streets to watch it being hauled past. Some called it a once-in-a-lifetime sight.

About 400 trees and many traffic lights were taken down to make room for the five-story-tall shuttle with its 78-foot wingspan.

The shuttle's 160-wheeled carrier stopped briefly so that crews could prune more trees. The shuttle will go 3 miles and then stop for nine hours to prepare for a final 9-mile roll the California Science Center.

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As the space shuttle Endeavour weaves through working-class communities on its way to its retirement home, Hildreth "Hal" Walker Jr. wants the children he tutors to remember a few names: Ronald McNair. Mae Jemison. Charles Bolden.

A retired laser scientist who had a role in the Apollo 11 mission, Walker took the opportunity of the two-day terrestrial crawl through predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods in Los Angeles County to highlight the role that minorities played in the shuttle program.

"We really have a job to do to show them the accomplishments of the people whose shoulders they're standing on," Walker said.

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