Space shuttle Endeavour to make historic final ferry flight

Sep 10, 2012

(Phys.org)—Space shuttle Endeavour, mounted atop NASA's modified 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), will make the final ferry flight of the Space Shuttle Program era when it departs Monday, Sept. 17, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida headed to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

On Oct. 11, 2011, NASA transferred title and ownership of Endeavour to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Under the terms of a Space Act Agreement with the science center, NASA will safely transport Endeavour to LAX for a planned arrival on Thursday, Sept. 20.

In cooperation with the , the SCA is scheduled to conduct low-level flyovers at about 1,500 feet above locations along the planned flight path. 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 cancelled. If the ferry flight must be postponed for any reason, an additional advisory will be issued.

At sunrise on Sept. 17, the SCA and Endeavour will depart Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility and perform a flyover of various areas of the Space Coast, including Kennedy, the Visitor Complex, and Patrick Air Force Base.

The aircraft will fly west and conduct low flyovers of NASA's Stennis in Mississippi and the agency's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. As it arrives over the Texas Gulf Coast area, the SCA will perform low flyovers above various areas of Houston, Clear Lake and Galveston before landing at Ellington Field near NASA's Johnson Space Center. Weather permitting, the SCA and Endeavour will stay at Ellington the remainder of Sept. 17 and all day Sept. 18.

At sunrise on Wednesday, Sept. 19, the aircraft will depart Houston, make a refueling stop at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas, and conduct low-level flyovers of White Sands Test Facility near Las Cruces, N.M., and NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Base in California, before landing around mid-day at Dryden.

On the morning of Sept. 20, the SCA and Endeavour will take off from Dryden and perform a low-level flyover of northern California, passing near NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., and various landmarks in multiple cities, including San Francisco and Sacramento. The aircraft also will conduct a flyover of many Los Angeles sites before landing about 11 a.m. PDT at LAX.

After arrival at LAX, Endeavour will be removed from the SCA and spend a few weeks at a United Airlines hangar undergoing preparations for transport and display. Endeavour then will travel through Inglewood and Los Angeles city streets on a 12-mile journey from the airport to the science center, arriving in the evening on Oct. 13.

Beginning Oct. 30, the shuttle will be on display in the science center's Samuel Oschin Display Pavilion, embarking on its new mission to commemorate past achievements in space and educate and inspire future generations of explorers.

Endeavour completed 25 missions, spent 299 days in orbit, and orbited Earth 4,671 times while traveling 122,883,151 miles.

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