The Space Shuttle Endeavour has made eleven trips to the International Space Station and back, but for the 12-mile journey from LAX to its final resting place at the California Science Center, it will need help from an unlikely source – the 2012 Toyota Tundra CrewMax pickup truck.
A bone-stock 2012 Tundra CrewMax will tow the shuttle through the streets of Los Angeles (as if they weren’t clogged enough already) in a tribute parade of sorts, to welcome Endeavour to its new home. The Tundra will actually tow the shuttle for only the final quarter-mile of the journey, but for a production truck rated at 10,000 lbs. towing capacity, it’s still quite an impressive feat.
At 78 feet wide and 184 feet long, the process of moving the shuttle is a logistical nightmare, and some residents are up in arms that about 400 trees have been cut down to make room. Toyota developed a special dolly to transport the 300,000-lb. shuttle, which they expect will be no trouble for the Tundra and its 5.7L V8 engine.
The transport is a bit of marketing genius, and Toyota is predictably taking advantage of the obvious advertising opportunities. When the L.A. County Museum of Art transported a 680,000-lb. boulder earlier this year, they needed 196 wheels, a tractor-trailer and two big rigs all working together. To tow a space shuttle that can leave the Earth’s atmosphere, you just need to waltz into a Toyota dealership today and hitch up.
The journey will go down on October 13, taking less than a day to complete, even at crawling speeds. That evening, a celebration will be held to ring in the new arrival, and the Endeavour exhibit will open to the public on October 30. The 2012 Toyota Tundra CrewMax used to tow the shuttle will be included in the exhibit.
Check out Toyota.com/TundraEndeavour for more information on the trip.