There are publicity stunts, and then there's using a Toyota Tundra to tow the 145-ton Space Shuttle Endeavour across interstate 405 in Los Angeles. That's exactly what happened Saturday night when Toyota lent a hand pulling the retired spacecraft over a bridge en route to the California Science Center. As it turned out, the Manchester Boulevard Bridge couldn't stand up to the weight of both the shuttle and the traditional tow vehicle, which sent organizers searching for something a little lighter to cover the five-minute drive across the bridge. As a 20-year sponsor of the science center, Toyota stepped in to help out.

The company developed a special tow dolly with Sarens Group, an engineering and heavy-lifting firm, just for the effort. A bone-stock 2012 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 4x4 did the deed, though something tells us this little stunt greatly exceeded the machine's tow rating. You can check out a video of the pull for yourself as well as the full press release below.


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Toyota Tundra Makes History Towing Space Icon

American-made Truck Successfully Assists Transport of Endeavour Space Shuttle Across Manchester Bridge

Toyota Tundra Tows Space Shuttle Endeavour Broll (Video)
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.

For more information on the Tundra Endeavour, please visit www.toyota.com/tundraendeavour.


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  • 515 Comments
      barkeep
      • 2 Years Ago
      You people here in the comments never cease to amaze me.
      Spearson
      • 2 Years Ago
      STOP SPAMMING.
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        @Spearson
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      paulwilson05
      • 2 Years Ago
      LOL USA USA TOYOTA
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      This article holds the record for largest number of troll posts in a single article on Autoblog.
      Go Ford Mustang
      • 2 Years Ago
      Im just curious why the number of comments are negative \"-273\"?
      Fixitfixitstop
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm pretty sure almost any full-size could do the same, so this really says nothing, and most of you commenting are also arguing over nothing (as usual)
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow.... some people are stupid. It's a publicity stunt. They planned on towing the freakin thing the whole way there, then Toyota offered to make the last few feet with its truck as a PUBLICITY STUNT to promote there brand. It was TOYOTA'S idea, NASA had no reason to say no to it. I feel deeply saddened by how many of you are this upset over this. Like honestly, there will be other space shuttles retired, I'm sure FORD will come up with a deal where they tow one the entire way with and F-350 or something. What does it matter thou honestly people.
      Sj027
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can't decide if his trolling is to promote American trucks or to make American truck fans look bad, either way I was hoping the 380 comments would be more thoughtful and fun to read.
      • 2 Years Ago
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      Cruising
      • 2 Years Ago
      walk in the park.
      Walt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good thing it was a low speed run. Anything above 25mph and the Tundra rips itself apart. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJZVUnOduH4
        John
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Walt
        Walt, you are indeed one sad and sorry excuse for being an expert on endurability and quality. The Ford truck motor, transmission or rear diff would have blown up at 25mph, never mind anything above than 25mph. Give me a break. You are indeed VERY jealous, and a sore loser. Wake up man!!!
      Becky Sue
      • 2 Years Ago
      Toyota has donated a boat load of money toward the California Science Center. More specifically, Toyota donated money to the Space program and the CSC. Toyota has raised money to support the building of the CSC's Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, the permanent home for Endeavour. Toyota partnered with the CSC back in the early 90's and gave money to inspiring youth in the fields of engineering, innovation and future technology. So naturally, the CSC asked Toyota to complete the honor of towing the endeavor home. Also, NASA is an international program that has partnered with 135 countries. "This cooperation ranges from shared scientific data and joint research to construction of space hardware and orbital rendezvous, like the Apollo-Soyuz docking in 1975 and visits of Space Shuttles to the Russian Mir space station, which began in 1995. " There you have America is sharing technology with 135 other countries. Get over it folks, this is a global economy. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/about/information/general_faq.html#13 Awesome job Toyota!!
        chrono00
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Becky Sue
        Thank you, Becky for this comment!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Becky Sue
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          th0mb0ne
          • 2 Years Ago
          What jobs are you talking about? Its designed, built and assembled in America by Americans. Get it through your thick skull, you troll.
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