A momentous day for NASA’s Endeavour occurred on Sept. 21, as the shuttle embarked on its last crowning journey: a flyover tour across California.
Endeavour, which first blazed into space on May 7, 1992, returned to the planet on which it was created. The space shuttle’s main engines, heat shields and “fly-by-wire” technology were developed and produced in California.
The now-retired shuttle nestled atop a Boeing 747 shuttle carrier aircraft for its final flight.
Accompanied by two jets, Endeavour took off from Edwards Air Force Base Friday morning enroute to Sacramento, after which it soared above the Bay Area on the way to its final landing at the Los Angeles International Airport. Endeavour flew 1,500 feet over some of the state’s most popular landmarks, such as the Sacramento Capitol building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Hollywood sign and even Disneyland.
This was the first time a space shuttle flew over California. Thousands of Californians gathered throughout the state to catch a glimpse of Endeavour’s feat. NASA provided a live video feed for online viewers of Endeavour’s flight and even invited spectators to tag #SpotTheShuttle on Twitter to share tweets and pictures.
Although its airborne days are complete, Endeavour is scheduled to cruise the streets in October to one last stop: the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
“I think when folks see it at the museum here, they will get that same feeling of how magnificent it is that we can build something like this that can go to space. It’s very inspiring,” astronaut Gregory Chamitoff said to the Los Angeles Times.
Endeavour spent 299 days in space, totaling roughly 123 million miles of travel in its lifetime. Friday’s farewell flight marks the shuttle’s 26th and final Endeavour.