NASA Shuttle Endeavour gets a piggy back ride on a 747

September 21, 2012 @ 9:38 pm
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Pretty awesome! A bit sad to see the Shuttle retired.

LOS ANGELES — The space shuttle Endeavour finished its flying days for good on Friday with a sightseeing tour that crisscrossed California and ended up at Los Angeles' airport.

The end of this week's cross-country piggyback trip came after a final go-around that stretched from Southern California to the San Francisco Bay area and back again. Bolted on top of a modified 747 jet, Endeavour set out on Friday morning from Edwards Air Force Base, 100 miles (160 kilometers) outside Los Angeles, and then headed north.

Thousands of spectators jammed rooftop buildings and streets in Sacramento, cheering as Endeavour made two loops around the state Capitol. A crowd of schoolchildren squealed in delight during the second flyover.

Matthew Montgomery took a break from his work as a legislative aide and brought his 2-year-old son, Tavion, to see Endeavour airborne. "I was going to leave him in daycare but thought this is a once-in-a-lifetime deal," said Montgomery, whose aunt was an engineer on the early Apollo missions.

After circling Sacramento, Endeavour veered toward the San Francisco Bay area, swooping over the Golden Gate Bridge as throngs snapped pictures on their cellphones and shared on social media sites.
Then the shuttle-jet combo headed back south and buzzed Los Angeles-area landmarks, including the Santa Monica Pier, the Hollywood Sign and Disneyland.

At the Griffith Observatory, overlooking the Hollywood Sign, a crowd of people — many dressed in shorts and flip-flops with kids in tow — camped out on beach chairs and blankets on the lush lawns. Shuttle sightings sparked cheers and chants of "USA! USA!"

The nearly five-hour air show culminated in an afternoon landing at the Los Angeles International Airport and a welcome ceremony.
In a few weeks, the shuttle will make a slow-speed journey across town through neighborhoods to its final museum home. "We're so excited to be welcoming Endeavour home in grand style with these flyovers," Jeffrey Rudolph, president of the California Science Center, said earlier this week.

Source & Image: MSNBC


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