LOS ANGELES -- It was supposed to be a slow but smooth journey to retirement, a parade through city streets for a shuttle that had logged millions of miles in space.
But Endeavour's final mission turned out to be a logistical headache that delayed its arrival at its museum resting place by about 17 hours.
After a 12-mile trek through city streets with thousands of adoring onlookers, flashing cameras and even the filming of a TV commercial, Endeavour arrived Sunday at the California Science Center to a greeting party of city leaders and other dignitaries who had expected it many hours earlier.
In midafternoon Endeavour was still inching toward a hangar on the grounds of the museum.
"It's like Christmas!" said Mark Behn, 55, a member of the museum ground support team who watched the shuttle's snail-like approach from the hangar. "We've waited so long and been told so many things about when it would get here. But here it is, and it's a dream come true."
Organizers had planned a slow trip, saying the spacecraft that once orbited at more than 17,000 mph would move at just 2 mph in its final voyage through Inglewood and southern Los Angeles. Even that estimate turned out to be generous, with Endeavour often creeping along at a barely detectable pace when it wasn't brought to a dead stop by obstacles like trees and light posts.
One delay came in the early morning Sunday when the shuttle's remote-controlled wheel carrier began leaking oil.
Despite the holdups, the team charged with transporting it felt a "great sense of accomplishment" when it made it onto the museum grounds, said Jim Hennessy, a spokesman for Sarens, the contract mover.
"It's historic and will be a great memory," he said. "Not too many people will be able to match that, to say, 'We moved the space shuttle through the streets of Inglewood and Los Angeles.' "
The cost of the crosstown transport was estimated at $10 million, to be paid for by the science center and private donations.
Late Friday, crews spent hours transferring the shuttle to a special, lighter towing dolly for its trip over Interstate 405. The dolly was pulled across the Manchester Boulevard bridge by a Toyota Tundra pickup, and the car company filmed the event for a commercial after paying for a permit, turning the scene into a movie set complete with special lighting, sound and staging.
Despite temperatures in the mid-70s, several dozen people were treated for heat-related injuries after a long day in the sun, fire officials said.
But no arrests were reported.