Thursday, September 20, 2012

Trail's End for Endeavour

Space Shuttle Endeavour is on her way home to California today.  It's flying across the country on the back of a specially modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.  If all goes well, it will arrive at LAX (that's Los Angeles International Airport for those of you who may not know) tomorrow, Friday, September 21st.

In a special email from the California Science Center, we have been told to watch for flyovers of Endeavour in the Los Angeles area around 10:30 a.m. on Friday.

Endeavour will pass regional landmarks such as its future home at the California Science Center, Los Angeles City Hall, Disneyland, the Getty Center, Griffith Observatory, Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, the Queen Mary, Malibu, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Universal Studios, Venice Beach, and, I'm pretty sure - my office!

Earlier on Friday morning, Endeavour will be passing over Northern California landmarks.

Being a complete space junkie, I will probably be in the parking lot of my office building trying to see it!  I've been so lucky - and thrilled beyond belief - to watch several shuttle landings, both at White Sands in New Mexico and at Edwards Air Force Base.  I remember well one of these landings at Edwards, with the landing shuttle still just a tiny speck on the horizon, while a little fellow, sitting on his dad's shoulders and trying hard to see, exclaimed, "Where's the space shovel, Daddy?"  

Well, starting October 30th, he will be able to visit it on a regular basis in its new home at the California Science Center!
Space Shuttle Endeavour lifts off for STS-113
The Endeavour orbiter was named after the British HMS Endeavour, the ship which took Captain James Cook on his first voyage of discovery in the years 1768-1771.  That's why the name is spelled in British English as Endeavour, rather than the American Endeavor.

The above NASA photo was taken of Endeavour's 19th lift-off on mission STS -113.  Its first launch was on May 7th back in 1992.

Endeavour on the launch pad in Florida

Endeavour will be on display in the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, a new addition to the Science Center currently under construction.  In addition to the shuttle, the pavilion will feature video experiences and significant artifacts such as the Spacehab flown in Endeavour's payload bay on shuttle mission STS-118.  There will be lots of fun things for guests of the museum to see up close!

For more information on the shuttle or the California Science Center exhibit, check out these links:

NASA Shuttle Operations - Endeavour

California Science Center - Endeavour Exhibit

All photos from NASA press releases

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