Trees have already been cut down so the Shuttle Endeavour can travel from Los Angeles International Airport(LAX) to the California Science Center about 11 miles miles away. The President of the California Science Center Foundation has promised to plant more trees than are cut down and to repair the side walk damage from the trees.
Foundation President Jeffrey Rudolph made a presentation to the Los Angeles Board of Public Works stating that the plan is to replace the trees on a four-to-one basis. The foundation said they will take it a step further by caring for the newly planted trees for three to five years. Also the foundation claims they will not cut down all the tress on the route to the shuttles new home. The trees planted in the memory of Martin Luther King will be preserved.
Rudolph said “We are trying to remove as few trees as possible,”. About 400 trees in total are going to be cut down and the communities effected include Westchester, the city of Inglewood and the city of L.A. to Exposition Park. The shuttle will be towed at a slow 3 mile per hour to be put on display at California Science Center.
Good news for the science center; the shuttle will increase visitors by 800,000 a year!
Also some light poles are being temporarily removed to accommodate the shuttles 78-foot wingspan and its height of 57 feet. So why don’t they disassemble it and put it back together at the Science Center? Rudolph said the shuttle could not be dismantled and put back together correctly. Also they can’t use a helicopter because its just too large.
The people of South Los Angeles say that the removal of these trees will have a negative impact on their neighborhoods, and several residents from Leimert Park warned the removal of mature trees will hurt public health and the environment.
A resident named Kevin Brown of Leimert Park said ”There are eucalyptus trees and jacaranda trees and what are they going to replace them with?” Brown asked. “We sent the rover Curiosity to Mars and it sent back all these pictures and what did you see? No trees. If we can sent an aircraft to Mars, surely we can find a better way to go 12 miles to the California Science Center.”
“Several years ago, when NASA announced they would accept proposals, more than 20 museums competed,” Rudolph said. “We, in Los Angeles were not considered a favorite, but last April we were awarded the Endeavour.”
Like it or not the Shuttle Endeavour is headed to the California Science Center on October 12th.
The Endeavour was the fifth shuttle to be put in service in 1992 and flew 25 missions.
The Shuttle is a great piece of history and we should be glad it is going on display.