Space shuttle Endeavour ended its flight career Sept. 21 as it toured California on the back of NASA's modified 747 carrier aircraft, landing at Los Angeles International Airport after its final ferry flight into history.
The four-hour, 34-minute flight began at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base Friday morning, and over the ensuing hours the piggyback pair made low-level flybys over scores of California cities and landmarks, many of which had direct ties to NASA's Space Shuttle Program over the past 40 years.
Shuttle Carrier Aircraft pilots Jeff Moultrie and Bill Rieke, both from NASA's Johnson Space Center, guided the big 747 carrying Endeavour over such landmarks as the State Capitol in Sacramento, the Golden Gate Bridge at San Francisco, NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field north of San Jose during their swing through Northern California.
After passing by Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast, they then entered the Los Angeles area, making passes – sometimes several – over such landmarks as Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood sign, Dodger Stadium, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Malibu and Santa Monica, Disneyland, The Queen Mary and USS Iowa in Long Beach harbor, and several low-level flyovers over Los Angeles International Airport before touching down on Runway 25L at 12:51 p.m. PDT.
After Endeavour is separated from the 747 over the next week and preparations are complete, it will be moved over city streets Oct. 12-13 to its new home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles for permanent display.
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