400 trees to be removed along shuttle Endeavour’s path in South L.A.

Ron Recinto
The Sideshow

After 25 missions to space, the shuttle Endeavor has an issue with trees for its final trek.

About 400 trees will be removed to get the retired space vehicle from Los Angeles International Airport to it's final home at the California Science Center, where it will be on display, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The circuitous 12-mile route, dubbed Mission 26, avoids overpasses that the five-story-high and 78-foot-wide Endeavour would not be able to travel through.

The slow, steady, 2-day route takes the shuttle perched atop a NASA transporter through South L.A.

Trees that interfere with the shuttle will have to be removed, and some residents are upset.

"They are cutting down these really big, majestic trees," Lark Galloway-Gilliam, a longtime resident and neighborhood council director told the L.A. Times. "It will be beyond my lifetime before they will be tall like this again."

The California Science Center said they would replant twice as many trees along the route, to replace those that will be chopped down.

But area residents say the trees will take a while to grow to the size and stature of the ones that are coming down, and they may not provide enough shade, the L.A. Times reported. Other residents noted the lack of trees in a neighborhood could cause a drop in home values.

"Los Angeles is a world class city that deserves an out of this world attraction like the Endeavour," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in a statement to space.com. "We welcome the shuttle with open arms."

"This will mark the first, last and only time a shuttle will travel through 12 miles of urban, public streets. It is not only one of the biggest objects ever transported down city streets; it's an irreplaceable national treasure," said Jeffrey Rudolph of the California Science Center. "Most importantly, this marks the beginning of Endeavour's ultimate mission of inspiring current and future innovators and explorers at the California Science Center."

The move is scheduled for Oct. 12 and will also involve removing power lines and redirecting traffic along the route.

NASA retired its fleet of shuttles last year. Shuttle Enterprise is at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York. Shuttle Discovery is at the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. And shuttle Atlantis is at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.