Late last night, a Toyota Tundra 4X4 half-ton pickup truck towed the 150,000 pound space shuttle Endeavour across Manchester Boulevard Bridge over the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles. The crossing took about five minutes.
The planners in charge of moving the Shuttle the 12 miles from from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center had initially planned for the Tundra’s segment of the journey to be down Bill Robertson Lane, but they determined the Manchester Bridge crossing would be better because of the lighter tow mechanism required for proper weight distribution.
The Tundra was an unmodified production vehicle purchased from inventory at a Southern California Toyota dealership and the only extra equipment was a special clevis-and-pin hitch. Looking at the truck, it appeared there was a fair amount of ballast in the bed, to give the truck extra traction.
At the wheel was Toyota professional driver Matt McBride. Riding shotgun was Garrett Reisman, one of the astronauts aboard the orbiter when it traveled to the International Space Station in 2008.
“I’m honored to be part of the space shuttle Endeavour’s final mission to the California Science Center,” said Reisman. “I appreciate Toyota’s support in helping bring this space icon home to the Southern California community.”
The truck will be donated to the California Science Center where it will replace a Tundra already on display.
For more information on the Tundra Endeavour, and an opportinity to help Toyota raise $500,000 for the California Science Center, visit www.toyota.com/tundraendeavour.