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Tundra to tow shuttle over bridge

A Toyota Tundra will tow the space shuttle Endeavour over the 405 Freeway

Published: October 7, 2012, 6:00 PM

Toyota Tundra tows Eneavour - Schematic

The retired, museum-bound Space Shuttle Endeavour will make a quarter-mile of its journey from LAX to the California Science Center in Exposition Park not by rockets, its own engines or thrusters, but towed by a Toyota Tundra full-size pickup just like the ones on a Toyota lot near you.

On Oct. 13, the 5.7-litre V8-equipped Tundra, which has a towing capacity of 10,000 lbs. (4,536 kg) will handle the portion of the route over the 405 Freeway's Manchester Boulevard Bridge, which requires a different tow mechanism than the rest of the route for weight distribution purposes.

The Tundra's involvment was originally scheduled to be a finish-line celebration at Exposition Park, but will now lead the journey. The remainder of the trip will be driven by four self-propelled, multi-axle vehicles. The modules will be simultaneously computer-controlled via joystick by one operator walking with the shuttle; they are capable of moving sideways or spinning in place, and will enable precise maneuverability as the shuttle passes buildings, utility poles and trees.

Toyota has done extensive testing and worked with The Sarens Group, a heavy lifting and engineered transport company, to develop a purpose-built dolly.