Space shuttle Endeavour lands in California
Space shuttle Endeavour, carried atop a modified 747, has landed in California at Edwards Air Force Base, the latest stop in its cross-country trek from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The shuttle departed from Houston today shortly after 6 a.m. PDT, made a refueling stop in El Paso, and then performed low-pass flyovers of New Mexico and Arizona before arriving at Edwards.
The Tucson flyover was added to the route to honor former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose husband, Mark Kelly, commanded Endeavour's final mission last year. Kelly requested the flyover, NASA confirmed.
A battalion of media were on hand to watch the landing at Edwards, along with about 40 of NASA's social media followers, including space enthusiasts. The participants were randomly selected from online registrations that took place in August, according to information published by the space agency.
"Oh my God, oh my goodness, I've got goosebumps," said Andrew Rechenberg, 41, an IT administrator from Cincinnati, Ohio, who watched it land at Edwards.
The shuttle will depart the Mojave Desert base about 7:15 a.m. Friday and will fly low over Palmdale, Lancaster, Rosamond and Mojave before heading north to Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, NASA officials said.
Once the shuttle reaches the Los Angeles area about 10:30 a.m. Friday, the orbiter will be carried over landmarks including the Getty Center, the Griffith Observatory, Malibu and Disneyland before landing at Los Angeles International Airport. It will also fly over the California Science Center in Exposition Park, its new permanent home.
But Endeavour's journey won't end Friday. The shuttle will be housed at a United Airlines hangar until Oct. 12, when it will begin a two-day celebratory trek through the city's streets to the museum's new Samuel Oschin display pavilion.
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-- Ann Simmons at Edwards AFB and Kate Mather in Los Angeles