NASA's retired space shuttle Endeavour is again to take to the streets of Los Angeles, this time as the leading feature on a flower-covered float as part of the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade.
A smaller version of the iconic black and white orbiter will soar from the front of the City of Los Angeles' 2014 float as it joins 44 other floral display platforms moving through Pasadena, California on New Year's Day (Jan. 1).
"[L.A's] most iconic landmarks are set to be re-imagined in a colorful display of flowers and natural materials," the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board stated. "A soaring shuttle Endeavour, which makes its home at the California Science Center, takes flight at the front of the float."
The California Science Center in October celebrated the one year anniversary of the real space shuttle Endeavour being delivered to its Samuel Oschin Pavilion for display. After being flown atop a NASA jumbo jet to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in 2012, Endeavour embarked on a 3-day, 12-mile (19-km) road trip to the science center through the streets of L.A. and Inglewood. [Gallery: Space shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center]
In its first year on public exhibit, Endeavour helped draw in 2.7 million visitors, one million more than the CSC saw the year before, including 21,000 visitors in a single day.
In addition to shuttle Endeavour, the City of Los Angeles' "Endless Entertainment" float will also include the golden stars lining the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Griffith Observatory. Universal Studios' Globe Fountain and TCL Chinese Theatre are also among the float's floral features, composed of more than 12,000 orchids, daisies and roses.
"With a record 42 million visitors to [L.A.] anticipated this year, the city is a dream destination," Ernest Wooden Jr., LA Tourism president and CEO, said of the float's theme. "Los Angeles is a mecca of endless entertainment options with truly something for everyone."
The 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade theme is "Dreams Come True."
"The [Rose Parade] will be a tribute to a world of dreams that have come true as a result of imagination, passion, creativity, and hard work," the parade's website describes. "They are celebrated in the small triumph of a child who wins her first spelling bee, or a team of scientists who can take us to the moon."
In addition to the space shuttle Endeavour on the City of Los Angeles' float, spaceflight also factors into the design of at least two other floats in this year's parade.
South Pasadena's "Intergalactic Vacation" float features a family picnicking on a nearby ringed planet with Earth in the background. And "Adventures in Space," presented by Public Storage, features a trio of extraterrestrials steering a gigantic spacecraft.
Endeavour is not the first space shuttle to be included in the Rose Parade. An orbiter made out of fine ground white rice, nori seaweed and onion seed was part of the "Space Odyssey" 2010 float by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California.
A two-tone pink rose flown on board the real space shuttle Atlantis in February 2008 was featured in the 2009 parade thanks to astronaut Rex Walheim and his brother Lance, a horticulturist with Bayer Advanced.