The enormous, banana-shaped fuel tank set to join the Endeavour Space Shuttle at the California Science Center has begun its slow roll through the streets of Los Angeles. Now that it's finally crawling past the familiar landscape of the city, one thing is clear: this thing is really, really big. Sure, we knew it was 154-feet long and all, but that sure looks a lot more gigantic when taking up the better part of a freeway overpass.
After a long and eventful journey to Marina del Rey from the NASA facility in Louisiana where it was constructed, the tank (officially known as ET-94) is on the final leg of the journey to its new home. The LA Times reports that a hearty tugboat called the Shannon Dann pulled the 65,000 pound piece of space equipment for the entire length of its sea voyage. Along the way, boat and fuel tank weathered a storm passing through the Cayman Islands and rescued four people from a sinking fishing vessel off the coast of Baja California.
Now, the tank is mounted atop dollies, with only a few miles to go in its arduous quest. Once at the Science Center, ET-94 will be flipped into vertical position and displayed with the Endeavour as if ready for lift-off. Though the Endeavour has undertaken 25 missions into space, ET-94 has never actually left Planet Earth—which is fortunate, as fuel tanks detach from shuttles after launch and burn up in the atmosphere.
The California Science Center is currently constructing a permanent home for the shuttle display—the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center. The new extension is expected to be complete by 2019.