LOS ANGELES — 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.

Having escaped out of Earth's atmosphere two dozen times, Endeavour's slow-speed trek Saturday to its retirement center took it through the working-class streets of southern Los Angeles.

In an instant, the shuttle crossings became part of history.

Along the 12-mile course, thousands marveled at the engineering. Some rooted for Endeavour when it appeared it might clip a light post. Others wondered if it could just hurry up to its destination.

Early birds gathered in front of lnglewood High School before sunrise to watch Endeavour roll by at a pokey 2 mph. Dean Martinez, who lives in Los Angeles but works in Inglewood, could not miss the moment.

"This is great for the city as a whole. It makes us proud," said Martinez, a project director for a nonprofit.

Endeavour had been scheduled to inch into the California Science Center on Saturday evening to spend the rest of its years as a museum piece. But as the night wore on, even inching became a challenge, and the journey looked likely to spill into Sunday.

The second day of the move started off promising, with Endeavour 1 1/2 hours ahead of schedule. But hurdles and hiccups caused it to run some five hours behind. There was no major single reason for the slowdown – it was the accumulation of small problems involving maneuvering and maintenance.

They included a small tree on the narrowest section of the move that planners hadn't thought needed removal but ended up bringing the procession to a stop. As crews tried to find ways to tilt and twist the shuttle past the tree, they came close to deciding to cut it down before Endeavor squeezed through. Another slip-up came when it appeared the shuttle was going to hit a light post, and crews again began plans to remove it as the ship slid through.

The crowd had its problems too. Despite temperatures in the mid-70s, more than two dozen people were treated for heat-related injuries after a long day in the sun, according to fire officials.

But incredibly, given the size of the crowd, police reported no arrests.

Unlike other high-profile events like the Academy Awards or the Rose Parade, the procession was centered in some of the area's most economically downtrodden and troubled places. The shuttle passed several gritty areas and shuttered businesses, and rolled down many streets that were aflame two decades earlier during the 1992 riots brought on by the Rodney King beating.

"Having a shuttle come through this area of high poverty, it can only be a good thing" for the community," said Damian Pipkins, a volunteer at Eso Won Books.

Endeavour hit the pavement before dawn Friday, trundling out of the Los Angeles International Airport on a remote-controlled 160-wheel carrier past diamond-shaped "Shuttle Xing" signs. When it reached a freeway overpass that night, it was towed by a truck.

The shuttle made a late-morning pit stop Saturday at the Forum – former home of the Los Angeles Lakers – where it was greeted in the arena's parking lot by a throng of cheering spectators. It was late to its second public celebration that included a dance performance choreographed by Debbie Allen.

For most of the way, Endeavour straddled wide boulevards – Manchester, Crenshaw, Martin Luther King Jr. The one exception was when the shuttle ambled through a slightly curved residential street lined with apartment buildings on both sides – a spot that caused some delay.

As it wound through South Los Angeles, residents welcomed its presence. Before the move, some lamented over the loss of shade as trees were chopped down to provide clearance.

Others thought it was a decent trade.

"If you have to go through a little bit of pain to have something nice for the community, then it's worth it," said Pamela Tucker, who lives a block away from Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles.

When Endeavour rolls down King Boulevard, special attention will be paid to the pine trees planted in honor of the slain civil rights leader.

Endeavour may have circled the globe nearly 4,700 times, but its roots are grounded in California. Its main engines were fabricated in the San Fernando Valley. The heat tiles were invented in Silicon Valley. Its "fly-by-wire" technology was developed in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey.

It's no longer shiny and sleek, like when it first rolled off the assembly line in the Mojave Desert in 1991 to replace the lost Challenger. As it cruised block-by-block, it's hard to miss what 123 million miles in space and two dozen re-entries can do to the exterior.

Shuffling Endeavour through city streets was a laborious undertaking – nearly a year in the making. It could not be taken apart without damaging the delicate tiles. Airlifting it was out of the question. So was driving on freeways since it was too massive to fit through underpasses.

There were consequences. Several hundred Inglewood residents suffered hours-long outages when power lines were temporarily snipped. Some businesses lost customers because of street and sidewalk closures.

Such a move is not cheap. The cross-town transport was estimated at $10 million, to be paid for by the science center and private donations.

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Associated Press writer Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this story.

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Follow Alicia Chang at http://twitter.com/SciWriAlicia

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  • The Shuttle Bride

    My friend LaRena Williams-Shabazz, whom we now lovingly refer to as "the shuttle bride."

  • The space shuttle Endeavour arrives at the hangar in the California Science Center on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012, in Los Angeles. Endeavour arrived at the museum after a 12-mile parade with thousands of onlookers ending with a greeting party of city leaders and other dignitaries. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Lawrence K. Ho, Pool)

  • Space Shuttle Endeavour

    Scott Dobbins, of Manhattan Beach, takes a picture of his children, Sarah Dobbins, left, Timmy Dobbins and Will Dobbins with Space Shuttle Endeavour on Crenshaw Blvd. enroute to the California Science Center during its final journey in Los Angeles, Calif., Saturday Oct. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Gritchen, POOL)

  • From my flight that landed next to where it was waiting at LAX.

  • Traymond Harris, left, and Ryan Hudge play basketball as the shuttle Endeavour passes by on Crenshaw Ave. in Inglewood Saturday Oct. 13, 2012. Endeavour had been scheduled to inch into the California Science Center on Saturday evening to spend the rest of its years as a museum piece. But as the night wore on, even inching became a challenge, and the journey looked likely to spill into Sunday. (AP Photo/Wally Skalij, POOL)

  • The space shuttle Endeavour passes people standing next to a downed road sign as it is moved to the California Science Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Lucy Nicholson, Pool)

  • Crew members stand by the space shuttle Endeavour on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 in Los Angeles. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center. (AP Photo/Lucy Nicholson, Pool)

  • Spectators in cherry picers take photos of the shuttle Endeavour makes its way Crenshaw Drive in Inglewood, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Wally Skalij, Pool)

  • A man cuts tree branches to make way for the space shuttle Endeavour as it is moved to the California Science Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Lucy Nicholson, Pool)

  • People watch as the space shuttle Endeavour is towed past their homes as it is moved to the California Science Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Lucy Nicholson, Pool)

  • The space shuttle Endeavour makes its way down Crenshaw Boulevard in Inglewood, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Space Shuttle Endeavour

    Crowds watch the space shuttle Endeavour on Crenshaw Blvd. enroute to the California Science Center during its final journey in Los Angeles, Calif. on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Jeff Gritchen, Pool)

  • Roni Lopez, center, holds an American flag as the Space Shuttle Endeavour slowly moves along city streets on a 160-wheeled carrier in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 towards the California Science Center museum. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Spectators take pictures as the space shuttle Endeavour makes its way down Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles, Calif. on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 to the California Science Center museum. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Spectators take pictures as the space shuttle Endeavour makes its way through city streets in Los Angeles, Calif. on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 to the California Science Center museum. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • A young woman runs across the street in front of the space shuttle Endeavour as it is slowly moved down Crenshaw Blvd., Saturday, Oct.13, 2012, in Los Angeles. The shuttle is on its last mission — a 12-mile creep through city streets. It will move past an eclectic mix of strip malls, mom-and-pop shops, tidy lawns and faded apartment buildings. Its final destination: California Science Center in South Los Angeles where it will be put on display. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • The space shuttle Endeavour is slowly moved down Crenshaw Blvd. at Slauson Ave., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Los Angeles. The shuttle is on its last mission — a 12-mile creep through city streets. It will move past an eclectic mix of strip malls, mom-and-pop shops, tidy lawns and faded apartment buildings. Its final destination: California Science Center in South Los Angeles where it will be put on display. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • The Space Shuttle Endeavour is moved to the California Science Center in Los Angeles

    The space shuttle Endeavour is moved to the California Science Center, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 in Los Angeles (AP Photo/Lucy Nicholson, Pool)

  • Space Shuttle Endeavour

    The space shuttle Endeavour is slowly moved down Crenshaw Blvd., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Los Angeles. The shuttle is on its last mission — a 12-mile creep through city streets. It will move past an eclectic mix of strip malls, mom-and-pop shops, tidy lawns and faded apartment buildings. Its final destination: California Science Center in South Los Angeles where it will be put on display. (AP Photo/Jeff Gritchen, Pool)

  • Space Shuttle Endeavour

    The space shuttle Endeavour is slowly moved down Crenshaw Blvd., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, in Los Angeles. The shuttle is on its last mission — a 12-mile creep through city streets. It will move past an eclectic mix of strip malls, mom-and-pop shops, tidy lawns and faded apartment buildings. Its final destination: California Science Center in South Los Angeles where it will be put on display. (AP Photo/Jeff Gritchen, Pool)

  • The space shuttle Endeavour is escorted by police and crew as it arrives at Martin Luther King Boulevard after it's journey down Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Spectators cheer as the space shuttle Endeavour arrives at Martin Luther King Boulevard after it's journey down Crenshaw Boulevard in Los Angeles, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Space Shuttle Endeavour voyage across Los Angeles

    Thousands of spectators gather around the Space Shuttle Endeavour during its stops outside the Baldwin Hill Crenshaw Mall in Los Angeles, California, USA, Saturday night Oct. 13, 2012 during the two-day 'Mission 26: The Big Endeavour' trip across the city to the California Science Center where it will be put on permanent display. (AP Photo/Michael Nelson, POOL)

  • Workers trim trees as the space shuttle Endeavor slowly moves along Martin Luther King Boulevard on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 in Los Angeles. In thousands of Earth orbits, the space shuttle Endeavour traveled 123 million miles. But the last few miles of its final journey are proving hard to get through. Endeavour's 12-mile crawl across Los Angeles to the California Science Museum hit repeated delays Saturday, leaving expectant crowds along city streets and at the destination slowly dwindling. Officials estimated the shuttle, originally expected to finish the trip early Saturday evening, would not arrive until later Sunday. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Times, Robert Gauthier, Pool)

  • The space shuttle Endeavour slowly moves down Martin Luther King Blvd. in Los Angeles, Sunday, Oct.14, 2012. In thousands of Earth orbits, the space shuttle Endeavour traveled 123 million miles (198 million kilometers). But the last few miles (kilometers) of its final journey are proving hard to get through. Endeavour's 12-mile (19-kilometer) crawl across Los Angeles to the California Science Museum hit repeated delays Saturday, leaving expectant crowds along city streets and at the destination slowly dwindling. Officials estimated the shuttle, originally expected to finish the trip early Saturday evening, would not arrive until mid-morning Sunday. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Spectators watch as the space shuttle Endeavour slowly moves down Martin Luther King Blvd. in Los Angeles, Sunday, Oct.14, 2012. In thousands of Earth orbits, the space shuttle Endeavour traveled 123 million miles (198 million kilometers). But the last few miles (kilometers) of its final journey are proving hard to get through. Endeavour's 12-mile (19-kilometer) crawl across Los Angeles to the California Science Museum hit repeated delays Saturday, leaving expectant crowds along city streets and at the destination slowly dwindling. Officials estimated the shuttle, originally expected to finish the trip early Saturday evening, would not arrive until mid-morning Sunday. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Spectators gather to watch the space shuttle Endeavour outside of Randy's Donuts as it waits to cross the 405 freeway in Inglewood, Calif., Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Vivianne Robinson

    Vivianne Robinson Crowds poses in front of the Space Shuttle Endeavour before it is moved along city streets, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, in Los Angeles. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center, its ultimate destination, said Benjamin Scheier of the center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Spectators gather to watch the space shuttle Endeavour in Los Angeles, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center, its ultimate destination, said Benjamin Scheier of the center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • The Space Shuttle Endeavour slowly moves along city streets on a 160-wheeled carrier in Los Angeles, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center, its ultimate destination. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

  • Spectators gather to watch the space shuttle Endeavour make its way down Manchester Blvd. on a 160-wheeled carrier in Los Angeles, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center, its ultimate destination. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Spectators take pictures of the Space Shuttle Endeavour as it slowly moves along city streets, Friday, Oct.12, 2012, in Los Angeles. The shuttle is on its last mission _ a 12-mile creep through city streets _ on its way to the California Science Center in South Los Angeles where it will be put on display. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, Pool)

  • Jose Salazar waves an American flag as he and other spectators gathered on a roof watch the space shuttle Endeavour slowly move along city streets on a 160-wheel trailer, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, in Los Angeles. The shuttle is on its last mission _ a 12-mile creep through city streets _ on its way to the California Science Center in South Los Angeles where it will be put on display. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Spectators gather to watch the space shuttle Endeavour slowly move along city streets on a 160-wheel trailer, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, in Los Angeles. The shuttle is on its last mission _ a 12-mile creep through city streets _ on its way to the California Science Center in South Los Angeles where it will be put on display. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Workers take pictures with the space shuttle Endeavour outside of Randy's Donuts as it waits to cross the 405 freeway in Inglewood, Calif., Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Space Shuttle Endeavour

    Spectators gather to watch the space shuttle Endeavour make its way down Manchester Blvd. in Los Angeles, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center, its ultimate destination. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • As work lights illuminate the scene, workers and spectators view the engines of the space shuttle Endeavour outside of Randy's Donuts as it waits to cross the 405 freeway in Inglewood, Calif., Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • 150804915

    Space Shuttle Endeavour is seen reflected in a window on route from Westchester square to Randy's Donuts during its final ground journey in Los Angeles, California on October 12,2012. Over the next two days, the 170,000-pound (77,272 kg) shuttle will travel at no more than 2 mph (3.2 km per hour) along a 12-mile (19km) route from LAX to it's final home at the California Science Center. NASA Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011 after 30 years and 135 missions. (AP Photo/JOE KLAMAR, POOL)

  • 150804915

    Spectators get a glimpse of the Space Shuttle Endeavour on route from Westchester square to Randy's Donuts during its final ground journey in Los Angeles, California on Oct. 12,2012. Over the next two days, the 170,000-pound (77,272 kg) shuttle will travel at no more than 2 mph (3.2 km per hour) along a 12-mile (19km) route from LAX to it's final home at the California Science Center. (AP Photo/JOE KLAMAR, POOL)

  • Spectators take pictures as the space shuttle Endeavour is pulled by a Toyota Tundra pickup truck on its way across the 405 freeway in Inglewood, Calif., Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Spectators take pictures as the space shuttle Endeavour is pulled by a Toyota Tundra pickup truck on its way across the 405 freeway in Inglewood, Calif., Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The space shuttle Endeavour makes it's way down Manchester Blvd. over a closed 405 fwy in Inglewood, Calif., Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center, its ultimate destination. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Spectators take pictures as the space shuttle Endeavour is pulled by a Toyota Tundra pickup truck on its way across the 405 freeway in Inglewood, Calif., Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Spectators take pictures as the space shuttle Endeavour is pulled by a Toyota Tundra pickup truck on its way across the 405 freeway in Inglewood, Calif., Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • Spectators take pictures as the space shuttle Endeavour is pulled by a Toyota Tundra pickup truck on its way across the 405 freeway in Inglewood, Calif., Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center. (AP Photo/Patrick T. Fallon)

  • The Space Shuttle Endeavour is slowly moved across Interstate 405 by a Toyota Tundra, Friday, Oct.12, 2012, in Los Angeles. The shuttle is on its last mission — a 12-mile creep through city streets. It will move past an eclectic mix of strip malls, mom-and-pop shops, tidy lawns and faded apartment buildings. Its final destination: California Science Center in South Los Angeles where it will be put on display. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • The Space Shuttle Endeavour is slowly moved across Interstate 405 by a Toyota Tundra, Friday, Oct.12, 2012, in Los Angeles. The shuttle is on its last mission — a 12-mile creep through city streets. It will move past an eclectic mix of strip malls, mom-and-pop shops, tidy lawns and faded apartment buildings. Its final destination: California Science Center in South Los Angeles where it will be put on display. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Space Shuttle Endeavour makes it's way down Manchester Blvd in Inglewood, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. The Endeavour's terrestrial journey began before dawn Friday when it departed from the Los Angeles International Airport, rolling on a 160-wheeled carrier past diamond-shaped "Shuttle Xing" signs. Over two days, it will trundle 12 miles (19 kilometers) at a top speed of 2 mph (3 kph) to its final destination, the California Science Center where it will be the centerpiece of a new exhibit. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Newspaper Group, Jeff Gritchen, Pool)

  • Space Shuttle Endeavour

    Space Shuttle Endeavour makes it's way down Manchester Blvd, as spectators take photographs, in Inglewood, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. The Endeavour's terrestrial journey began before dawn Friday when it departed from the Los Angeles International Airport, rolling on a 160-wheeled carrier past diamond-shaped "Shuttle Xing" signs. Over two days, it will trundle 12 miles (19 kilometers) at a top speed of 2 mph (3 kph) to its final destination, the California Science Center where it will be the centerpiece of a new exhibit. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Newspaper Group, Jeff Gritchen, Pool)

  • Space Shuttle Endeavour makes it's way down Manchester Blvd in Inglewood, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. The Endeavour's terrestrial journey began before dawn Friday when it departed from the Los Angeles International Airport, rolling on a 160-wheeled carrier past diamond-shaped "Shuttle Xing" signs. Over two days, it will trundle 12 miles (19 kilometers) at a top speed of 2 mph (3 kph) to its final destination, the California Science Center where it will be the centerpiece of a new exhibit. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Newspaper Group, Jeff Gritchen, Pool)

  • Space Shuttle Endeavour makes it's way down Manchester Blvd in Inglewood, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. The Endeavour's terrestrial journey began before dawn Friday when it departed from the Los Angeles International Airport, rolling on a 160-wheeled carrier past diamond-shaped "Shuttle Xing" signs. Over two days, it will trundle 12 miles (19 kilometers) at a top speed of 2 mph (3 kph) to its final destination, the California Science Center where it will be the centerpiece of a new exhibit. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Newspaper Group, Jeff Gritchen, Pool)