As Endeavour ambles along, city workers and crews from Southern California Edison, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and a dozen private companies will remove man-made obstructions.
"The public is going to have a great opportunity to view this all along the route," said Lt. Andy Neiman of the Los Angeles Police Department. "They're going to be able to get pretty close — a half a block or less in places. We want to make this a celebration, a parade atmosphere. But with a lot of heavy security."
Rolling street closures should keep traffic snarls to a minimum, Neiman said.
It all sounds reminiscent of the move in March of a giant boulder from a Riverside County quarry to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where it's part of an abstract art installation. But that's where any comparisons end.
One is a rock. The other cost nearly $2 billion.
"Something I learned is how surprisingly fragile the shuttle is if you ask it to do something it wasn't designed to do," said the science center's Fabrick. Workers have been instructed not to touch it. "It's not good for the vehicle, and we know that," he said. "It's a national treasure, and we're going to treat it with great care."
Fabrick, 63, spent his career with Pasadena-based Parsons Corp., an international engineering and construction firm which specializes in massive, one-of-a-kind projects such as shipping ports, nuclear power plants, rocket launch systems and airports.
When the science center acquired Endeavour, Fabrick was asked to oversee its move. He leaped at the chance and took early retirement from Parsons.
Fabrick has driven Endeavour's route more than a hundred times. "From the time I wake up in the morning and step into the shower I'm thinking about it," he said. "It's been all consuming."
Bill Roberts has had the shuttle on his mind for most of his life.
The 56-year-old Boeing engineer began working on the shuttle program straight out of college in 1982. He worked his way up to project manager. After the shuttle Columbia broke apart during reentry in 2003, Roberts led a team that brought the fleet up to new safety standards that cleared the orbiters for flight again.
Not long after that, he was asked to do one final job: develop a plan to retire the fleet. It was a bittersweet assignment given that the orbiters were designed to fly more than 100 missions each. The entire fleet flew 135.
"When I was first approached, my reaction was 'I can't believe you're doing this. There's so much life left in these,' " Roberts said. "Eventually, it was like 'Oh, get over it. Let's get on with this and do it the right way.'"
Each shuttle contains more than 2.5 million parts, many of them hazardous. Before Endeavour could be moved to the science center it first had to be stripped of its "hypers" and "pyros" — shorthand for the shuttle's highly toxic and combustible hypergolic fuel system and the numerous explosive devices used to open hatches and landing gear doors, among other tasks.
It took five years to research and write this final chapter of the storied shuttle. The impenetrable-to-laymen tome is called the "End State Subsystem Safing Requirements Document."
It's a title that speaks to the complexity of handling the shuttle, whether it's traveling 122,883,151 miles through space or merely 12 miles across town.
PHOTOS: Getting Endeavor ready
GRAPHIC: Endeavor's final journey