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Space shuttle creeps down the streets of Los Angeles

The space shuttle Endeavour is inching toward its retirement home at the California Science Center, as throngs of excited Angelenos and Twitter users look on.

To boldly go into the donut hole. NASA/Carla Cioffi

Leaping over the Golden Gate Bridge was no great shakes. And even zipping to the International Space Station and back was pretty much a piece of cake. But navigating the streets of Los Angeles is something else altogether, the Space Shuttle Endeavour is discovering.

The historic craft left Los Angeles International Airport on the back of a remote-controlled 160-wheel carrier before dawn Friday to begin a 12-mile mission along the L.A. streets to the California Science Center near downtown, where it will spend its retirement. It's due to reach the center late today, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Traveling at a poky 2 miles per hour, Endeavour is moving slowly enough that throngs of onlookers can pay their respects. Preparation for the journey has included a lot of way-clearing for the massive craft, including chopping down trees (which will be replaced), temporarily removing traffic lights, and laying down metal plates to avoid crushing underground pipes and the like.

NASA posted a bevy of photos (click the embedded gallery tease below to check out the best ones), and other shuttle fans are following the action and posting photos on Twitter, via the hashtag #spottheshuttle.

The California Science Center is charting Endeavour's progress via Twitter too. And it also has a live-stream of the journey.