Space shuttle Endeavour not expected to arrive in L.A. until late 2012

The space shuttle Endeavour is expected to arrive at its permanent retirement home in Los Angeles in the latter half of 2012, the president of the California Science Center said Wednesday.

Initially, museum officials had said the shuttle could arrive by the end of this year. But NASA officials said it would take longer to detoxify the space shuttle and prepare it for retirement. Complicating the timeline was the delay in Endeavour's final mission and preparation for the upcoming mission of the shuttle Atlantis in July, which will mark the last voyage of the space shuttle program.

In the meantime, Jeffrey Rudolph, the California Science Center's president, said the museum, in Exposition Park, is making progress raising $28.8 million to pay for Endeavour's cleanup at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and to bring it to Los Angeles.

"We're not there yet. But we're feeling good about it," Rudolph said of the fundraising effort.

Parsons, a global engineering firm based in Pasadena, is donating its services to cover the logistics of transporting the orbiter from LAX to the museum grounds. The orbiter will have to be routed on streets that are not obstructed by freeway overpasses, Rudolph said.

Rudolph said it would have been impractical for NASA to have Endeavour land at Edwards Air Force Base in California, because much of the equipment to detoxify the shuttle is in Florida.

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