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  • California Science Center Foundation launched its “Mission 26” fact sheet today calling it “The Big Endeavour”. Stating that “This will mark the first and only time a space shuttle will travel through 12 miles of public urban streets. It’s also one of the biggest objects ever transported down an urban corridor”.

    The space shuttle Endeavour has a 78 foot wing span and a height of 58 feet at the tip of its tail making it about the size of a five story building. In order to make the move they will be moving power lines, street lights and trees.

    Many trees are slated for removal. City of Inglewood will lose 128 trees. Near LAX, 91 trees adjacent to the airport fence will be removed. The City of Los Angeles will lose 265 trees. The “Mission 26” report includes details about how the trees will be replaced with twice as many saplings. Over 800 new trees will be planted after the shuttle is moved to Exposition Park.

    Fifty-four of the trees to be removed are large trees of which only five will be transplanted. These large trees are called “invasive” and pose street damage or safety hazards to the public. These “invasive” trees will be replaced by “urban-friendly” trees. So says the report.

    There is much public outcry against the loss of the pines, myrtles and magnolias and other species lining the 12-mile route. Residents say its a high price to pay, saying that it’s unacceptable to cut down oxygen-giving species just to let something pass by. Why cut down trees that are 40, or 60 years old so that a parade that will last two days will go by?

    The scheduled event is due to take place on October 12th and 13th. The public all agrees that the shuttle is truly a national treasure, but our trees are our daily ritual. The shade and oxygen they provide over years and years holds not a national spotlight but certainly an urban one. No matter how they try to “spin” this last space shuttle mission, the truth is, while it is wonderful to have the Endeavour space shuttle housed here in Los Angeles for permanent display, many of us don’t have another 50 years to wait for those saplings to become trees.
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