Need to Tow a Space Shuttle? Toyota Tundra is Your Truck

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Toyota recently announced that a stock Toyota Tundra will tow the space shuttle Endeavour during its final journey to the California Science Center on October 13, 2012. Talk about a big tow job!

Toyota Tundra to tow Space Shuttle

A stock Toyota Tundra will tow the space shuttle Endeavour on its final journey to the California Science Center. What a cool project!

The 12-mile tow from Los Angeles International Airport will take the space shuttle to its final destination at the Science Center for permanent display. The stock Toyota Tundra will tow the symbolic last quarter mile.

Toyota tested the stock 2012 Tundra CrewMax 1/2 ton-pickup truck extensively prior to the announcement since the space shuttle weighs 300,000 pounds. Also, since it is an historical artifact, extreme care must be taken when it is towed down Bill Robertson Lane in Exposition Park near downtown Los Angeles.

While it would be cool to just hook the space shuttle up to the Tundra’s hitch that isn’t quite the plan. Toyota worked with The Sarens Group, a heavy lifting and engineered transport company, to develop a dolly specifically for hauling the Endeavour.

“There is no larger or more recognizable icon of the U.S. space program’s success than the shuttle, and to have it towed by the Toyota Tundra is not only an incredible example of the capabilities of the truck, but an honor to be part of history,” said Ed Laukes, TMS vice president of marketing communications. “The entire journey is something the world will be watching, and gives us a chance to prove that the ‘overbuilt’ Tundra is built to do any job – even tow the space shuttle.”

How did this opportunity come about? Toyota Motor Sales and the Science Center have an ongoing partnership ” in an effort to provide support and awareness of the space program and continuing education of the public through exhibits and programs.” Toyota currently has a truck on display at the center demonstrating the physics of leverage. This Tundra will be replaced by the model that is going to tow the space shuttle.

As with most of these events, there will be a finish-line celebration on October 13. Also, there is a website ( full of behind the scenes photos and activities about the Tundra Endeavour project.

What a cool project! Way to go Tundra! 


Filed Under: Tundra News


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  1. LJC says:

    This is a gutsy task. It’s one thing to tow this weight, but it’s another to it in front of a large TV audience. If there’s a failure, there’s no editing that will hide it.

    Another point to note is when tasks like this have been done by competitor trucks they’ve been done on a dirt road and for a much shorter distance.
    Towing on a dirt road does not stress the drive-train all that much because of the lowered traction dirt provides. Towing on pavement provides the best traction and therefore much more drive-train stress.
    The speed and distance the Endeavor will be towed will be about 2 or 3 MPH and for ¼ mile. So, it will take about 12 minutes. Towing at low speed can be more stressful than a higher speed because of the lack of airflow over the cooling components—anybody catch this on “Towing: Texas-sized”? The low speed and time it will take provides ample opportunity for the transmission fluid temperature to reach a critical point and therefore failure.

    The informal definition of “guts” is “courage and fortitude; nerve; determination; stamina”. If I had one word to describe this event it would be “guts”.

    Kudos to the Tundra team and Toyota!

  2. mk says:

    I have heard all the tree huggers eco-friendly groups are outraged about all the 100’s of trees that have to be cut down to make this trip, any truth to that?

    • No idea, but it sounds right…the shuttle is pretty wide, so it stands to reason that some trees might have to be cut down.

      I guess the greenies would rather take a chainsaw to the shuttle? Whatever I say. Trees grow back.

  3. will says:

    Yes, jason
    they have to do something extra to clear the roads.
    may be with chainsaw if their comes any.

  4. Mike T says:

    Toyota assisted in the Endeavour’s 12-mile route to the California Science Center includes. 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.

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