Shuttle Endeavour flies over California today, en route to LA retirement

Photo: Shuttle Endeavour's final landing at Edwards AFB. September 20, 2012. By Todd Lappin

If you're in California today, Friday, Sept. 21, you may have a chance to see space shuttle Endeavour's historic flyover of the state as it heads for the California Science Center in Los Angeles for retirement. Here are more details from NASA Dryden on the exact route and planned times.

The orbiter, atop its 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), is scheduled to fly over northern California and a large area of the Los Angeles basin beginning at about 8:15 a.m. PDT. NASA originally planned the transit for an earlier hour, but rescheduled to increase the odds of good visibility for Bay Area residents—fog is a factor there in the early morning.

"During the four-and-a-half hour flight, social media users are encouraged to share their Endeavour sightings using the hashtags #spottheshuttle and #OV105, Endeavour's vehicle designation," according to NASA, and there's a Flickr group for space fans. The official account for NASA is here. At 11 a.m. EDT (8 a.m. PDT), NASA TV will air Endeavour's departure for the flyover.

NASA Ames' Twitter account is a good one to follow today, as is Boing Boing pal Todd Lappin, who shot the gorgeous photos in this post. SpaceFlightNow is liveblogging, and they're also great to follow on Twitter today.

Snip from the NASA press release:

The SCA and Endeavour will salute NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center and the Edwards Air Force Base area after takeoff with a low flyby northbound to Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Any time after 9:30 a.m. PDT, watch for Endeavour from viewing locations that include the Bay Area Discovery Museum, Chabot Space and Science Center, the California State Capitol, Exploratorium, Lawrence Hall of Science and Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Next the aircraft will travel south, making a pass over NASA's Ames Research Center and Vandenberg Air Force Base before heading into the Los Angeles area.

Any time after 11:30 a.m., watch for flyovers of Endeavour passing regional landmarks such as its future home at the California Science Center, Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, Disneyland, The Getty Center, Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles City Hall, the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific, Malibu Beach, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, the Queen Mary, Universal Studios and Venice Beach, among others.

Finally, the SCA and Endeavour will land about 12:45 p.m., at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) for an arrival ceremony before Endeavour is taken off the 747. The orbiter will be transported to the California Science Center next month.

The exact timing and path of the ferry flight will depend on weather conditions and operational constraints. Some planned flyovers or stopovers could be delayed or canceled.

Photo: Shuttle Endeavour, at Edwards AFB. September 20, 2012. By Todd Lappin


  1. Dunno if it’s something you guys changed with your RSS feed or Google Reader changed, but recently in GReader, the pictures in these articles appear overly stretched out, but clicking through to the actual article they appear fine.

  2. My husband is an engineer at Skunk Works, his coworker shot this video right outside the plant this morning as Endeavour did a very low flyby of Plant 42 in honor of the shuttle program’s heritage at that location. This is pretty epic, wish it was a little longer!

  3. I saw it cruise over JPL, slow & low.  Spectacular!  My crappy 1st-gen Android took a crappy video that cut out after only 19 seconds, otherwise I’d post it for you.  Man, you had to be there.  The cheering crowd really brought a tear to my eye.

  4. Nice funeral procession for NASA’s manned space program.

    We can afford a trillion dollars a year to kill brown people.  We can even afford half a trillion every year on entertainment. But nothing, nada, zero for manned space exploration.

    Among the galaxy’s sentient species, we are the basement-dwelling underachiever.

  5. My Facebook feed was filled this morning with the most amazing stream of photos posted, as the Endeavour flew a loop around the Bay Area and then made her way down to Los Angeles and friend after Californian friend posted their shots.

    1. Speaking of which, anyone have any idea what they’re gonna do with the two Shuttle Carrier Aircraft now?  I don’t imagine American Airlines wants ’em back, since they gotta be forty years old now (though low hours, all things considered).

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