Toyota Tundra tows the Endeavour space shuttle to retirement [video]

The California Science Center will be Endeavour's resting place.

About a month ago Toyota said that the Endeavour will be towed to the California Science Center by a stock Tundra across the Manchester Boulevard Bridge. This happened on October 13th and the car in question was a standard 2012 Tundra CrewMax 4x4 powered by the firm’s iForce V8 5.7-liter engine with 381 hp (284 kW).

Behind the wheel of the vehicle was professional driver Matt McBride and Garrett Reisman who was one of the astronauts aboard the space shuttle during the trip in 2008 to the International Space Station.

In order to complete the journey across the bridge which took five minutes, Toyota collaborated with a heavy lifting and engineering transport firm by the name of Sarens Group to build a dolly for moving the space shuttle over the bridge.

More details are available in the attached press release.

Source: Toyota

LOS ANGELES (Oct. 13, 2012) – A Toyota Tundra half-ton pickup truck without any special modifications successfully towed the 150,000 pound space shuttle Endeavour across a bridge spanning the nation’s busiest freeway on Friday night, Oct. 12. The tow was a result of a 20-year partnership between Toyota and the California Science Center to raise awareness of the space program and continue public education through exhibits and events.

The shuttle’s 12-mile route over city streets to its new home at the California Science Center includes one passage over the 405 Freeway. The Tundra assisted in the transport of the Endeavour as it journeyed over the Manchester Boulevard Bridge—an area that required a lighter tow mechanism than other portions of the route for weight distribution purposes. Toyota did extensive testing and worked with the Sarens Group, a heavy lifting and engineering transport company, to develop a dolly to move the Endeavour over the bridge.

“We’ve partnered with the California Science Center since the early '90s as part of our ongoing commitment to inspiring youth in the fields of engineering, innovation and future technology, and we are honored to lend our support for this historic event,” said Michael Rouse, vice president of community affairs and philanthropy for Toyota.

The model selected was a stock 2012 Tundra CrewMax 4x4 with Toyota’s 5.7-liter iForce V8, producing 381 horsepower. All Tundra trucks are produced exclusively at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas in San Antonio. The truck used to tow the Endeavour was purchased from a Southern California Toyota dealer, with no modifications or special equipment added for the tow. 

The Tundra was piloted by longtime Toyota professional driver Matt McBride. Riding along was Garrett Reisman, one of the astronauts aboard the orbiter when it traveled to the International Space Station in 2008. From start to finish, it took 5 minutes to cross the bridge.

“I’m honored to be part of the space shuttle Endeavour’s final mission to the California Science Center,” said Garrett Reisman, an engineer and former NASA astronaut. “I appreciate Toyota’s support in helping bring this space icon home to the Southern California community.” 

The Science Center has a popular working exhibit utilizing a Tundra that demonstrates the physics of leverage. The Tundra used to tow the shuttle will replace the existing truck when the Endeavour exhibit opens on Oct. 30, 2012.

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Comments (5)

tohui tohui
I Agree with dude... america is the contry where the pickups rule... on the other side a VW Touareg towed a 747 a long time ago... so this ain't news...
Oct 15th, 2012 10:14pm
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RoadRunner RoadRunner
retirement, What a shame
Oct 15th, 2012 7:22pm
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BryanMalone BryanMalone
Toyota has had a partnership with the center in LA for twenty years. Politics may have played a role in where the shuttle went but, not what towed it there. As you folks know the Tundra is produced in Texas which is still America if they have not seceded yet. The engines are built in America as well as the majority of parts. It is not just assembled in America. Multiple independent American companies also produce parts for both the Tundra and other Toyota products. Toyota is a Japanese company and that can not be overlooked though the majority of the money for the development and sales of the Tundra stay in working Americans pockets not in Japan.
Oct 15th, 2012 7:02pm
1 1
Cale24 Cale24
A Japanese car tows one of the most significant American creations of the last few decades? #NOBAMA
Oct 15th, 2012 4:43pm
2 3
Dude von Dudenstein Dude von Dudenstein
Our good old American carmakers missed out on a marketing campaign here!
Oct 15th, 2012 4:42pm
4 0