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Space Shuttle Endeavour Makes Final Flight

shuttle endeavour piggyback
The space shuttle Endeavour on a 474 Boeing jet, leaving on its cross-country trip. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
It’s a final cross-country trip for the space shuttle Endeavour – from Florida to California.

NASA’s space shuttle Endeavour made 25 flights into Earth orbit during its shortened lifetime. It was designed to make at least 100 round trips to space, but the shuttle fleet was retired last year and the remaining shuttles have found new homes in museums around the country.

The Endeavour was the last shuttle added to the fleet and completed a variety of missions in low Earth orbit. What about the other remaining orbiters? Discovery is now at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. The Atlantis will stay at Kennedy Space Center.

The Endeavor would usually cross the United States in minutes, while in orbit. But this cross-country trip has been a little longer – three days.

  • Wednesday – it left Florida, and landed in Houston, making a pass over NASA headquarters.
  • Thursday – the modified jumbo jet and shuttle landed at El Paso and then Edwards Air Force Base in California, where the aircraft booked some overnight accommodations.
  • Friday – a big “photo op” day for the 747 and shuttle. They fly low over Palmdale, Lancaster, Rosamond, Mojave and Sacramento. After a leisurely flight over San Francisco, it’s on to Los Angeles. The cameras will be clicking away as the 747 and Endeavour pass over Griffith Observatory, Malibu and Disneyland. Then, they land at Los Angeles International Airport.

    In October, the orbiter will be transported through the streets to its home at the California Science Center.

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