"... for some residents in South L.A., the excitement of the shuttle rumbling through their neighborhoods quickly faded when they learned that 400 trees will be chopped down to make room for the behemoth. The California Science Center -- Endeavour's final home -- has agreed to replant twice as many trees along the route from the shuttle's docking place at Los Angeles International Airport to Exposition Park... Several alternatives for the Oct. 12 move were considered but ultimately discarded. Taking the massive shuttle apart would have damaged the delicate tiles that acted as heat sensors."
Keith's note: Just how many tiles are we talking about? Didn't NASA pull tiles on and off of shuttles on a routine basis - for decades? I am sure a few of those tile maintenance folks could have used a little consulting work. Since these shuttles are not going to fly again, why is this a big deal? The engines on these orbiters are now fake. Indeed, just today NASA announced that it was still trying to give shuttle tiles away. If NASA ever releases the actual proposals it will be interesting to see if the tree removal was mentioned and what effect it would have on property values.