Planners appeared to get the engineering right but not the timing. What began as a head start in the morning turned into an ever-increasing delay by night. As crowds waited along the route, officials said the shuttle would be several hours late to its destination, probably arriving sometime Sunday morning.
Endeavour’s 26th and final mission came down to sweating the details. Engineers had mapped its route and possible obstructions down to the millimeter. Crews swarmed around the spacecraft like a court of handmaidens Saturday, taking down streetlights and signs, removing power lines and trimming trees.