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Oct 14, 2012 12:14 PM by Associated Press

Endeavour retirement takes far longer than hoped

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The space shuttle Endeavour has traveled some 123 million miles, but last 12 are proving hard to get through.

Endeavour is crawling across Los Angeles to the California Science Museum, where it will spend its retirement. People have been lining city streets for a glimpse and waiting at the museum. But the crowds have dwindled as Endeavour's hit repeated delays.

The problems have included longer than expected maintenance of the rig carrying the shuttle and physical obstacles within the shuttle's wingspan including light posts, building edges, and lots of trees.

Some 400 trees have been removed to avoid such situations, but officials said most of the trees that gave them trouble could not be cut down because they were old or treasured for other reasons. In a scene that was repeated many times, a small tree on the narrowest section of the move brought the procession to a stop yesterday, forcing crews to find creative ways to dip a wing under or raise it over the tree.

The shuttle was originally expected to finish the trip early Saturday evening, but officials now estimate it will not arrive at the museum until mid-morning.

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