Ever since the Space Shuttle fleet was retired last year, several spacecraft have gone to new homes for the public to enjoy. Their journeys have often been spectacular, such as the Enterprise flying over New York and Discovery soaring above Washington D.C. However it seems that Endeavour’s final 12-mile journey to its new home at the California Science Center is causing controversy – as over 400 trees are being cut down to make way for the spacecraft as it travels through the streets of Los Angeles.

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The California Science Center is located in South L.A., and many locals have had their trees cut down. The Center has vowed to replant twice as many trees along the route once the shuttle completes its journey from the Los Angeles International Airport, however the move has still irked local residents. Speaking to the LA Times, Lark Galloway-Gilliam, a longtime Leimert Park resident and neighborhood council director said: “They are cutting down these really big, majestic trees. It will be beyond my lifetime before they will be tall like this again.”

There are also concerns that the new trees will not be as ‘full’ as the mature magnolias they replace. Not just that, but it is thought that the new, young, wiry trees will depreciate property values simply because they aren’t as impressive.

However LA officials believe that the historical significance of having Endeavour in the city will make up for the cutting down of the trees. “It is a historical artifact and national treasure,” said California Science Center president Jeffrey Rudolph. “The community understands that and recognizes that it will help inspire the next generation of explorers.” Over its two decade career, Endeavour circled the Earth more than 4,600 times and spent 299 days in space.

There were other ideas to get the shuttle to the Science Center, such as disassembling it, but it was feared that it would do lasting damage to the craft. It’s also too heavy to be winched in by helicopters. The shuttle’s final route will follow Manchester Boulevard to Crenshaw Drive, then onto Crenshaw Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard – wide roads with no low bridges.

Via LA Times

Images: Lance Cheung and deg.io