Three out of four decommissioned NASA space shuttle orbiters have found new homes at museums in the United States. Endeavour, built as a replacement for Space Shuttle Challenger, recently arrived at its new home in Los Angeles, and the world was watching.
This geek was impressed and moved by the thousands of people who shared in Endeavour’s journey, logging its path in real time (and even sharing photos) on social media outlets as a Boeing 747 airliner with the space shuttle strapped to its back passed overhead.
Endeavor’s final journey included stops and flyovers at famous California landmarks en route to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), including: Yosemite, the state capitol in Sacramento, the Golden Gate Bridge, Downtown L.A., the CSC, the Coliseum, the Hollywood sign, the Griffith Observatory, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Santa Monica Pier, Dodger and Angel Stadiums, Disneyland, the Queen Mary, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, and Boeing Huntington Beach.
“It was a very emotional morning as the people of the high desert community, many who worked on the shuttle program since the beginning, came out to give Endeavour a final sendoff,” says Al Hoffman, site manager at Boeing Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) Operations and former Palmdale space shuttle assembly/test manager. “The space shuttle program truly left its mark on the world, and I share the pride of many in our community and our company who had the honor and privilege to be a part of it.”
All told, Endeavor completed 25 missions, spent 299 days in orbit, orbited Earth 4,671 times, and traveled 122,883,151 miles during its career, from roughly 1988 through 2011.