A 15-Story Space Shuttle Fuel Tank Made Its Way, Slowly, Through Los Angeles

The 66,000-pound fuel tank made its way from the harbor to just south of downtown Los Angeles, where it will be reunited with the shuttle Endeavour.

The 15-story fuel tank that is to be attached to Space Shuttle Endeavour wound its way — very slowly — through the crowded streets of Los Angeles, drawing fans and curious onlookers to marvel at the massive tank of space history.

Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

The route is only 16 miles from Marina del Rey to its destination at the California Science Center, but moving the tank, named ET-94, was a work of engineering itself.

Watch closely at #ETComesHome rocks a little from side to side. Eeeeasy does it!

The tank's trip was expected to take up to 18 hours as it was carefully transported.

Turning onto Manchester from La Brea! #ETComesHome #spotthetank

I mean, this thing is seriously huge.

Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

Just look at this 66,000-pound fuel tank try to turn.

Big turn into westchester parkway. #ET94 #ETComesHome #SpotTheTank

The trip started early Saturday morning from Marina del Rey, but ET-94 was originally transported by ship from New Orleans, through the Panama Canal, to the West Coast.

Francine Orr / Getty Images

The fuel tank was donated by NASA last year to the California Science Center, where it will be re-attached to Endeavour and put on display in launching position, the center said.


That meant that Angelenos got a chance to marvel as it crawled through city streets, and they came decked out in their space-wear best.

Richard Vogel / AP


Hands down, best #ET94 watching shoes ever! #etcomehome

These guys were human traffic cones for the trip.

Richard Vogel / AP

There were even astronauts like Sandy Magnus for what seemed more like a parade than transport mission.

Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

And you had to snap a selfie with ET-94, obviously.

Richard Vogel / AP

Fuel tanks are the only major non-reusable part of a space shuttle, but ET-94 was never used. It was the last remaining fuel tank.

Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images

It's not every day that spaceship equipment joins the Los Angeles commute.

Christine Armario / AP