On Friday, Lloyd Patterson will get an up-close look at the Space Shuttle Endeavour, currently housed at Los Angeles International Airport. But he won't be a mere spectator as it is moved this week to its permanent location at the California Science Center museum. Patterson's equipment will be hauling it.
Patterson, who owns Patterson Heavy Haul in Lodi, flew down late Monday to assess the load and discuss its ever-changing route. He will return Thursday driving his specially fabricated trailer dollies, built by Stockton-based Rackley Bilt Custom Trailers.
The shuttle move is being overseen by Rigging International, based in Alameda.
"It's been very exciting. We're just a little-town company," said Samantha Patterson, Lloyd Patterson's daughter. "I'm excited for (my dad) to have this opportunity because he's such a hard worker. He deserves this, and he's good at what he does. That's finally getting recognized."
Late Thursday, the shuttle will be loaded and switched back and forth between two different trailer dollies throughout its 12-mile journey, which is expected to take two days. The other transporter, operated by remote control, is owned by Sarens Global Operation Company, who contracted with Patterson Heavy Haul for its portion.
Sarens will carry Endeavour throughout most of the urban roads because of their transporter's ability to maneuver around the obstacles city streets pose, according to Samantha Patterson.
Patterson Heavy Haul's trailer will move the shuttle across Interstate 405. The California Department of Transportation will not allow Sarens' remote control transporter to do this.
During the route, Lloyd Patterson will also team up with Toyota on two different occasions, including a spot for a Tundra commercial.
This week won't be the first time Lloyd Patterson has had a brush with the shuttle. In August, he went to Orlando, Fla., where his drivers picked up and moved both of Endeavours' 149-foot-long rocket boosters on a two-week transcontinental road trip from the Kennedy Space Center to Edwards Air Force Base and the trailer hauling the boosters was photographed for the website www.space.com.
The boosters will ultimately be displayed upright alongside the shuttle at the Los Angeles museum, but until the launchpad-like exhibit at the California Science Center is ready in a few years, Endeavour will be placed in a temporary horizontal display while the rockets remain in storage at NASA's facility at Edwards, according to the website.
That was before Endeavour made its final ferried flight over California before landing at LAX last month.
"Witnessed the Endeavour fly over Sacramento a bit ago," Patterson Heavy Haul posted on Facebook Sept. 21. "Very exciting to see, especially knowing it will be sitting on a trailer of ours in just a few short weeks."
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.