Endeavour space shuttle: 'Bittersweet' flight for 747 crew
Endeavour’s chief pilot Bill Brockett said Thursday he was "sad to see Endeavour retired and the shuttle fleet retired" but pleased to have had "the privilege to fly what will be the next to last flight of shuttle Endeavour."
Brockett described the flight to Southern California as "uneventful." After the two-day delay, he said there were "absolutely no issues with the weather" on Thursday.
"The air was smooth," Brockett said after safely landing Endeavour at Edwards Air Force Base at 12:15 p.m. "We're glad it went as well as it did today."
His co-pilot Frank Batteas said retiring Endeavour was "bittersweet," but taking Endeavour on its farewell journey was "a highlight of my career."
Flight engineer Larry Larose said he had participated in Endeavour’s first launch and he welcomed the opportunity to "come back for the final retirement."
Brockett piloted the modified 747, which carried the space shuttle piggy-back, dipping low to pass numerous spots across the southwestern United States on Thursday.
NASA officials delayed Friday's departure from Edwards Air Force Base from 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. From there, it will head to Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Southern Californians are now recommended to watch for the space shuttle any time after 11:30 a.m., over landmarks such as its future home at the California Science Center, 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.
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-- Ann Simmons at Edwards Air Force Base
Photo: Military family and friends look at the Endeavour at Edwards Air Force Base on Thursday. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times