Endeavour has landed. The shuttle and its carrier 747 landed at Edwards Air Force Base at 12:50 p.m. Pacific time.
The following story was written prior to the landing…
Space Shuttle Endeavour’s last mission – a coast-to-coast flight on the back of a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) – is coming to Edwards Air Force Base today and taking its last flight tomorrow, when it will land at LAX.
In 1991, construction of Endeavor was completed in Palmdale. As NASA’s last orbitor built, it flew its first space mission in May 1992 and its last in May 2011. After spending 299 days in orbit circling the planet 4,671 times, Endeavor will return to Southern California today.
Endeavour is scheduled to land at Edwards Air Force Base between 11:45 am and 12:45 pm. Then, tomorrow morning at approximately 7:15 am, there will be fly-overs around the Antelope Valley before the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft with Endeavour turns northward towards Yosemite, Sacramento, NASA Ames Research Center, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
There will also be some spectacular fly-overs all over Southern California tomorrow. Griffith Observatory, Disneyland, the former Space Shuttle facility in Downey, Boeing in Huntington Beach, even The Getty Center are potentially very good viewing locations before the final landing at LAX.
For those in the Antelope Valley, there are some great viewing locations. One in particular is the familiar gathering and aircraft viewing location at Sierra Highway and Avenue N in Palmdale – across from Air Force Plant 42, the “Birthplace of America’s Space Shuttle Orbiter Fleet.”
Low-level flyovers of the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster and the towns of Rosamond and Mojave are scheduled early Friday morning after a planned 7:15 a.m. departure from Edwards, prior to the SCA-Endeavour combo heading north toward Sacramento.
Any time after 8:30 a.m. Friday, Endeavour will fly over the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay areas. Suggested viewing locations include the State Capitol in Sacramento, some of the San Francisco area museums including the Bay Area Discovery Museum, Chabot Space and Science Center, the Exploratorium, the Lawrence Hall of Science and the Monterey Bay Aquarium near Santa Cruz and Monterey.
Any time after 10:30 a.m. on Friday, watch for flyovers of Endeavour in the Los Angeles area. You may have an opportunity to see Endeavour passing regional landmarks such as the California Science Center, Disneyland, the Getty Center, Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles International Airport and Malibu, among others.
At LAX, the shuttle will stay in a hangar for more than three weeks. On Oct. 13, the spacecraft will be hauled by truck to the California Science Center in Exposition Park in downtown Los Angeles, where it will be put on display.
Atop its 747 carrier, the space shuttle Endeavor lands at Edwards Air Force Base, from which point it will continue to its permanent home in Los Angeles.