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Mapping the Giant Yellow Space Banana's Coming Journey Across LA

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Once again, the streets of LA will shut down as the space shuttle Endeavour's fuel tank travels from the coast to the California Science Center

The huge space fuel tank that will join the Endeavour space shuttle at the California Science Center's Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Pavilion is finally coming to town this May, and that means once again a cool NASA creation will be rolling slowly through the streets of Los Angeles, KPCC says.

The external tank (ET-94) is expected to arrive in Marina del Rey around May 21 aboard a barge from New Orleans; its trip here could take up to eight weeks. Once it gets to MdR, it's onto waiting dollies, which will be used in conjunction with a truck to slowly tow the fuel tank all the way to Exposition Park. (The Science Center has every turn of the route mapped and written out here.)

The tank—which is orange, not yellow, though it resembles a large banana regardless—is 15 stories tall and weighs 15 tons. It's big, but because it's shorter and narrower than the Endeavour, the route will be less trouble logistically: No trees along its path will need to be removed (some slight trims will do) and very few utilities will be affected ("some street lights and overhead signs may be moved," says KPCC).

ET-94's move will also be shorter than the Endeavour's three-day haul, between 13 and 18 hours.

Once it arrives at the California Science Center, ET-94 will eventually be "mated" with the Endeavour and other pieces to create a complete permanent "full stack" display, with the shuttle in ready-for-lift-off position.

ET-94 was one of three fuel tanks built for the Space Shuttle Columbia; after the Columbia's disastrous end, ET-94 was studied and partially taken apart in order to further understand what happened on that mission.

California Science Center

700 Exposition Park Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90037