Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Endeavour's Parade - Viewing Locations

To all of you who have been fretting over whether or not you'll be able to see Endeavour from L.A. sidewalks and streets this weekend, take heart! I scouted out the route today and talked to dozens of business owners. Not a single one told me that shuttle watchers are not welcome. In fact, most of them were thrilled at the prospect of the extra business with a distinct "Bring it on!" attitude. There was no talk of anyone closing for the Parade.

I focused on businesses and venues that either provide sit-down food & beverage services or have parking lots or other outdoors spaces. I made sure that shuttle watchers would be welcome there. 

The information below is NOT official information from Los Angeles city officials (much official advice in recent days has been versions of "stay away"). I compiled this information today while making my way along Endeavour's route. I hope this info will help you make plans for the Parade.

Be sure to pay attention to street closings (details below). I have heard that the police will close off streets/sidewalks 1 mile ahead and behind the shuttle. However the street closing signs today didn't mention anything about a "rolling" closure. The viewing locations below are all venues that get you off the streets and sidewalks - if indeed city officials decide to forbid shuttle viewing from sidewalks along the route.

Update - October 11, 5:40 p.m. 
Sidewalks may be opened up along the route, as determined by the LAPD on a block-by-block basis. No details.

If you plan on driving to the Parade, my advice is to arrive a couple hours prior to official street closing times, park off the Parade route a few blocks away and walk to your destination. That way, your car won't be stuck inside the closure zones. 

I have included a few hotel listings along the route for those who want to stay along the route overnight.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email me at ctaake23 at or contact me on twitter (@ct_la).

Here is a detailed map of the route and major stops along the way.


LEG 1 - EAST: Manchester & Sepulveda to Manchester & Crenshaw Drive

Manchester Blvd. will be closed from 12-5 pm along the shuttle route, according to signs displayed today.

Manchester & Sepulveda - Shuttle starts to head East at 1:15 p.m.

Manchester & Airport

Holiday Inn Express (rooftop viewing available)
7-11 parking lot

Manchester & Belford

Yum Yum Donuts
Jino's Bistro

Manchester & Bellana

Burger King
Jack in the Box
Mini-mall parking lot anchored by a Subway

Manchester & Hindry

7-11 parking lot
Tumby's Pizza

Manchester & Olive

Day's Inn
Sandman Hotel

Manchester & La Cienega

Randy's Donuts (look for the huge iconic donut with a shuttle in the donut hole)
Louis Burgers
Airport Hotel

Update - October 11, 2:55 p.m. 
Randy's donuts will be closed on Friday. They leased their parking lot to Toyota and the Tundra shuttle transporter will be stored there.  This is right at the 405 Freeway overpass.

** END ROUTE FOR OCTOBER 12 ** - Endeavour will reach the 405 Freeway overpass at Manchester & La Cienega around 4 p.m. Here she will be transferred to another carrier to cross the overpass around 10 p.m. Note: CHP will close freeway ramps in the area around this time.


Endeavour will continue along Manchester Blvd, entering the city of Inglewood around 8 a.m.

Manchester & Ash

Roscoe's Chicken & adjacent mini mall parking lot

Manchester & Cedar

Bravo's Char Burgers
Economy Inn
Lotus Motel

Manchester & Inglewood

7-11 parking lot
Charly's Restaurant
Carl's Jr

One Manchester Ave - Inglewood City Hall
This is an official viewing area and there are some grassy areas set back from the sidewalk. There are no other off-sidewalk viewing opportunities through downtown Inglewood.

Manchester & Locust


Manchester & Hillcrest

Von's parking lot (including Starbucks and a bistro cafe).
This is a good one if you don't want to wait at a restaurant or fast food place. This is also the only segment along the route where Endeavour will be going downhill. There are grassy areas inside the parking lot to wait. I made sure the manager is fine with shuttle spotters in the parking lot. There is a fence around the lot, but it doesn't obstruct one's view, unless you have professional photo/film equipment.

Manchester & Prairie / Inglewood Forum


9 a.m. - Celebration at the Inglewood Forum. This venue accommodates 14,000 people. I couldn't get any info on how close visitors can get to the shuttle there.

Manchester & Briarwood

Inglewood Cemetery - for those who want to get into the Halloween spirit. You will not be able to get close to the sidewalk here due to walls that block the view but the cemetery is large and has gentle hills from which Manchester Blvd. is clearly visible.

LEG 2 - NORTH: Crenshaw Drive & Crenshaw Blvd to Martin Luther King Blvd.

From here on out, viewing opportunities diminish quite a bit. The neighborhoods are mostly residential, with houses frequently bordering the sidewalk without lawns or spacious businesses. 

I did not see any signs about closure times along Crenshaw Blvd., but expect it to be closed, partially or in its entirety, from early morning to at least mid-afternoon on Saturday.

Crenshaw & Florence

McDonald's and adajacent mini-mall

Crenshaw & 60th Street

Pizza Hut
Taco Bell

Crenshaw & Slauson

Burger King

Crenshaw & 48th Street

Church's Chicken

Crenshaw & Vernon


Crenshaw & Martin Luther King Blvd / Baldwin Hills Mall

Walmart / Macy's parking lot
Louisiana Fried Chicken, numerous additional restaurants

This is the location of the Baldwin Hills Mall, where there will be a celebration hosted by Debbie Allen at 2 p.m. The venue can accommodate 3,000 people. So if you want to go to this one, arrive early.

LEG 3 - EAST: Martin Luther King Blvd. to CA Science Center

A sign on MLK Blvd today read: Closed 8 pm / 10-12 to 8 pm / 10-13

The initial stretch of MLK Blvd is comprised of residential areas with very few viewing opportunities.

MLK & Olmstead

Audubon Middle School. There are large playgrounds and sports areas right on MLK Blvd. Downside: You'd be behind a chain link fence.

MLK & King Blvd.

7-11 mini mall (it looks like a tight fit there; city workers were taking down street lights today)

MLK & Arlington


A sign at Arlington said today that this stretch of road will be closed on 10/13 from 4 pm to 10 pm. I take this to mean that the shuttle will probably arrive at CA Science Center closer to 8 pm than 4 pm.

MLK & Western

Burger King
Ralph's parking lot

MLK & Normandie

Carl's Jr
Taco Bell

MLK & Walton

McDonald's with adjacent mini mall parking lot

MLK & Bill Richardson Lane


This is a good location to see the shuttle at the end of her journey. Endeavour will turn left here and head over to the CA Science Center, which will also host a celebration. See my previous two Endeavour Parade blog entries for details on this celebration.

Update - October 11, 2012 12:40 pm
CBS just reported that Endeavour is slated to arrive at the CA Science Center at 8:30 p.m. Previously reported arrival times were 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Open Letter to Mayor Villaraigosa

To Mayor Villaraigosa and city officials in charge of moving Endeavour to the California Science Center:

The way you have handled public relations for Endeavour's move so far is an absolute disgrace. By keeping spectators away from the shuttle route you are turning an event that could be a highlight in the history of space shuttle retirement into a nightmarish police state scenario. Your emphasis on "security" is a thinly veiled way of saying that Angelenos cannot be trusted to celebrate THEIR shuttle without damaging it, themselves, each other or city property - especially considering that the route leads through some of LA's poorer neighborhoods. I really have to wonder if you have a clue just how bad this looks to us - and everybody who will be watching this weekend.

This is the last time any space shuttle will be on the *move* anywhere on Earth or in space. Do you really want to turn this historic occasion into one that Angelenos and the world will remember as one of anger, resentment and ham-fisted management?

It is an honor for Los Angeles to have been chosen as the permanent home of one NASA's orbiters, especially considering the role Southern California played in the shuttle's design and development. One would think you could grasp the historic significance of moving this magnificent machine through our city streets. Angelenos and visitors want to be PART OF HISTORY. Yet you are treating Endeavour's move as if it is a huge inconvenience, through a city populated by residents too incompetent or dangerous to watch a shuttle go by at TWO miles per hour.

What makes you think Angelenos are incapable of participating safely in a celebration and parade? We have hosted the Olympics as smoothly as any city can. We host an annual marathon through those same city streets. We survived closure of our busiest freeway for a whole weekend without missing a beat, twice. We can handle horrific daily traffic, along with earthquakes, riots, fires and floods. Angelenos are tough, resourceful and delightfully diverse. How dare you paint us as people who can't be entrusted with keeping ourselves and the space shuttle safe because we want to WATCH FROM THE SIDEWALKS?

If your concern is for the shuttle or transporter injuring onlookers: Please. The transporter will be crawling along. What are you afraid of? I'd really like to hear what kind of specific "security" concerns you have. I would also like to know how you intend to handle massive crowds at a venue you are billing as a public viewing site, even though it accommodates only 3,000 people (Crenshaw Plaza).

Are you concerned the shuttle might get damaged by the people along the route? Endeavour has accomplished 25 fiery launches and re-entries, traveled 120 million miles in space and helped build the International Space Station. Are you saying Endeavour is too fragile for a parade and celebration in the streets of Los Angeles?

I can tell you this: You will not keep Angelenos and visitors from seeing Endeavour along the route. The shuttle belongs to the people. We paid for it, just like we pay for the maintenance of public streets. It's ludicrous that you're telling us we can't see our shuttle on our streets. Alas, just as we've learned to cope with man-made and natural disasters, we've gotten used to a city government completely out of touch with city residents.

It's up to us, then: We will find a way to #SpotTheShuttle!

I will scout the route tomorrow, talk to business owners and residents along the way and compile a list of viewing locations. Look for the info on this blog tomorrow evening.

Here is a detailed map of the route and major stops along the way.

Endeavour's Parade Route - UPDATE

Below is an updated route timetable for Space Shuttle Endeavour's trip from LAX to the California Science Center on Friday and Saturday. (Source:

The details below differ from the timetable I published here on October 8 (source: Los Angeles Times), including arrival time at the California Science Center.

My advice is to plan for the earlier arrival times. City officials have been releasing very little information, considering the scope of the event. I believe that is deliberate to keep spectators away. At the time of this writing, city police plan on closing streets and sidewalks for one mile in front of and behind the shuttle. This means spectators will need to look for businesses and residents who are happy to welcome shuttle watchers and celebrate. I will make my way along the route tomorrow (Wednesday, Oct. 10) to scout for locations and will publish the information here tomorrow evening.

So far, I know of two businesses who are welcoming shuttle watchers:

Randy's Donuts - 805 West Manchester Boulevard  Inglewood, CA 90301

Holiday Inn Express at LAX -  8620 Airport Boulevard Los Angeles, CA
As of today, the hotel still had a few rooms available.

UPDATED Endeavour Parade Route ~

Friday, Oct. 12

    2 a.m.: Depart LAX on north side.
    4:15 a.m.: Arrive at intersection of La Tijera and Sepulveda boulevards. There, Endeavour will have a 9-hour layover while the roads ahead are cleared.
    1:15 p.m.: Head east on Manchester Boulevard.
    4 p.m.: Stop short of San Diego (405) Freeway, and transfer shuttle to another carrier for crossing the overpass.
    10 p.m.: Cross 405 Freeway. CHP will close ramps and run traffic stops to minimize traffic disruptions caused by gawking. Endeavour will continue east overnight.

Saturday, Oct. 13

    8 a.m.: Pass Inglewood City Hall, a designated viewing area.
    9 a.m.: Reach the Forum, the scene of a formal welcoming celebration capable of accommodating a crowd as large as 14,000.
    9:30 a.m.: Continue east on Manchester Boulevard, turning left at Crenshaw Drive, which connects to Crenshaw Boulevard.
    2 p.m.: Arrive at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard for a second celebration, with entertainment produced by Debbie Allen.
    2:30 p.m.: Continue east on MLK Boulevard.
    4 p.m.: Reach Exposition Park, another designated viewing area and the site of the shuttle’s new home at the California Science Center.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Endeavour's Parade Route - Details & Tips

Space Shuttle Endeavour is making its final voyage to the California Science Center from LAX this week. As many of you know, parade plans are in shambles and city officials are well on their way to turning an event that could be a highlight in Los Angeles and space shuttle history into an unmitigated public relations disaster. Nonetheless, many thousands of Angelenos will go shuttle watching this weekend. I will do all I can to help Angelenos and visitors celebrate Endeavour along her route.

Here is a detailed map of the route and major stops along the way.

On SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13, celebrations are planned at the following locations:

- 9 a.m, Forum parking lot in Inglewood

- 2 p.m., Martin Luther King and Crenshaw at Crenshaw Plaza

- 8:30 p.m., Bill Robertson Lane at Exposition Park

The third stop at Exposition Park is the final stop at the California Science Center. I visited CSC last week and spoke to the staff about the venue. The museum will be open and it's free to get in. They are opening up all parking lots that they have, but they couldn't estimate the number of people that will attend so parking could still be an issue. Remember that the California Science Center is located on the newly opened Expo light rail line. Take the blue line or red line to 7th/Metro and catch the Expo line to Expo/USC station. The CSC entrance is located across from USC through the rose garden. If you see the fountain, you know you're in the right place. Click here for Expo line info and time table.

The other two locations, at the Forum and Crenshaw Plaza are the only two locations where city officials are currently "allowing" the public to see the shuttle. The Forum is a venue with 14,000 parking spaces. Whether that is enough is anyone's guess. Given this event is happening on a Saturday, I very much doubt it. 

The second location at Crenshaw Plaza mall will feature a celebration choreographed by Debbie Allen. The bad news is that the venue accommodates only 3,000 people. 

I will personally scout the route and post more details this week. In particular, I will look for businesses along the route that plan on welcoming shuttle watchers, such as the iconic Randy's Donuts on Manchester Blvd. in Inglewood:

Here is a detailed itinerary of Endeavour’s trip from LAX to its permanent new home at the California Science Center:

— Leave United Hangar at LAX

THURSDAY, OCT. 11, 11:30 p.m.

— United Hangar to Twy E17
12:30 a.m. (Friday, Oct. 12)


— Service Road to LAX Gate S1A
2:00 a.m.

— Northside Pkwy. to Lincoln Blvd.
2:30 a.m.

— S. McConnell Ave. to La Tijera Blvd.
3:30 a.m.

— La Tijera Blvd. to Drollinger Parking Lot.
4:15 a.m.

Switch Transporters from Narrow Configuration to Wide Configuration Exit Drollinger Parking Lot at 1:30 p.m.

— Sepulveda Eastway to Manchester Blvd.
2:00 p.m.

— Manchester Blvd. to Osage Ave.
2:45 p.m.

— Osage Ave. to S. Glasgow Ave.
3:15 p.m.

— S. Glasgow Ave to La Cienega Blvd.
4:15 p.m.

Set Orbiter to Dollies from 4:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Cross Manchester Bridge from 10:00 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

Set Forward End of Orbiter to SPMT’s from 10:15 p.m. to 11:55 p.m.

Set Aft End of Orbiter to SPMT’s from 12:05 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.


— S. Ash Ave. to Inglewood Ave.
1:30 a.m.

— Grevillea Ave. to East Hillcrest Blvd.
8:00 a.m.

— East Hillcrest Blvd. to South Prairie Ave.
9:00 a.m.

— South Prairie Ave. to Crenshaw Dr.
10:00 a.m.

— Crenshaw Dr. to Crenshaw Blvd.
11:00 a.m.

— Crenshaw Blvd. to W. 79th St.
11:30 a.m.

— W. 79th St. to West Florence Ave.
2:00 p.m.

— W. Florence Ave. to W. Slauson Ave.
12:45 p.m.

— W. Slauson Ave. to W. Vernon Ave.
1:30 p.m.

— W. Vernon Ave. to MLK
2:00 p.m.

Switch Transporters from Wide Configuration to Narrow Configuration from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

— MLK to Olmsted Ave.
5:00 p.m.

— Olmsted Ave. to 4th Ave.
5:45 p.m.

— 4th Ave. to Western Ave.
7:15 p.m.

— Western Ave. to S. Normandie Ave.
8:00 p.m.

— S. Normandie Ave. to Bill Robertson Ln.
8:30 p.m.

— Bill Robertson Ln. to California Science Center Pavilion Ramp
9:00 p.m.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Elon Musk answers my question about manned missions

I almost missed it. 

However, thanks to @serenityhanley and @libbydoodle, who recognized my twitter handle during today's Google+ hangout with NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and tweeted about it, I just watched Elon Musk answer my question (submitted via twitter):

@NASA @SpaceX What's the timeline for the 1st manned #Dragon flight to the #ISS? How are NASA & SpaceX collaborating in that area? #askNASA

Go to 8:07 to hear Elon's answer:

Three years to manned spaceflight for SpaceX, four years for manned missions to the International Space Station. That's fairly soon, considering SpaceX is building its own rockets and spacecraft from the ground up. I truly wish, however, that the Soyuz wasn't our only current option for manned missions to the ISS. Don't forget to watch on Sunday, October 7, when SpaceX will launch its first Falcon 9 / Dragon supply mission to the ISS under contract with NASA from Kennedy Space Center. The launch is scheduled for 8:35 pm EDT / 5:35 pm PDT. Both NASA and SpaceX will carry live feeds.  UPDATE - October 8, 2012 During last night's pre-launch SpaceX webcast, John Insprucker also answered my question! I was just hanging out, watching the webcast in anticipation of the launch when I did a double take "Wait, that's me!"  Thank you Elon and John for both taking the time to answer!