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Endeavour’s last trip, to museum, is slowest, by far

Endeavour, viewed by flocks of spectators, inched along Martin Luther King Boulevard in Los Angeles Sunday at 2 miles per hour, on its way to the California Science Center.

Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

Endeavour, viewed by flocks of spectators, inched along Martin Luther King Boulevard in Los Angeles Sunday at 2 miles per hour, on its way to the California Science Center.

LOS ANGELES — It was supposed to be a slow but smooth journey to retirement, a parade through city streets for a shuttle that logged millions of miles in space.

But Endeavour’s final mission turned out to be a logistical headache that delayed its arrival to its museum resting place by about 17 hours.

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After a 12-mile weave past trees and utility poles that included thousands of adoring onlookers, flashing cameras, and even the filming of a TV commercial, Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center on Sunday to a greeting party of city leaders and other dignitaries that had expected it many hours earlier.

Endeavour was still inching toward a hangar on the grounds of the museum mid-Sunday afternoon.

Movers had planned a slow trip, saying the shuttle would move at just 2 miles per hour in its final voyage through southern Los Angeles.

But that estimate turned out to be generous, with Endeavour often creeping along at a barely detectable pace when it was not at a dead stop because of branches and light posts.

Another delay came in the early morning hours Sunday when the shuttle’s remote-controlled, 160-wheel carrier began leaking oil.

Despite the holdups, the team charged with transporting the shuttle felt a ‘‘great sense of accomplishment’’ when it made it onto the museum grounds, said Jim Hennessy, a spokesman for Sarens, the contract mover.

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