At every turn of Endeavour's stop-and-go commute through urban streets, a constellation of spectators trailed along as the space shuttle ploddingly nosed past stores, schools, churches and front yards.
At its prime, the space shuttle Endeavour cruised around the Earth at 17,500 mph, faster than a speeding bullet. In retirement, it's crawling along at a sluggish 2 mph, a pace that rush-hour commuters can sympathize with.
Atlantis and four astronauts returned from the International Space Station in triumph Thursday, bringing an end to NASA's 30-year shuttle journey with one last, rousing touchdown that drew cheers and tears.
Thirty years of flight by NASA's space shuttles will end once Atlantis returns home from this last mission. The space agency will be looking to deeper space exploration, but the future is still somewhat unclear.
The astronaut husband of wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords arrived at NASA's launch site Tuesday for this week's flight of space shuttle Endeavour, and said his wife would be following him "pretty soon" - in plenty of time for liftoff.
NASA's space shuttle Endeavour will land in Los Angeles after it is retired. The California Science Center in Exposition Park was named Tuesday by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden as one of four institutions nationwide that will receive orbiters for permanent display.