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Jets flying over L.A., preparing for space shuttle Endeavour

August 25, 2012 |  2:52 pm

173889 ME 0825 NASA-Aircraft 001 IK

A NASA advance team took to the skies above Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon in preparation for the scheduled arrival of the space shuttle Endeavour next month.

NASA officials urged residents not to be concerned if they spot two jets flying at a relatively low altitude, about 1,500 feet, over the greater Los Angeles area. “We want to alert the public that these are loud jets and they will be flying fairly low,” said NASA spokesman Michael Curie.

The flights, by a T-38 trainer jet and an F-18 Hornet, are to help the agency plan for a possible flyover by Endeavour when it arrives in September, en route to its permanent new home at the California Science Center. The retired shuttle is scheduled to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport on Sept. 20, ferried from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on the back of a modified 747.

Today’s reconnaissance mission will serve several purposes, Curie said. The pilots will be looking at potential hazards and challenges in the area, including cellphone, radio and TV towers, and considering the best routes for a scenic flyover of the area.

And they will be looking for the best camera angles for iconic photographs of the shuttle flying in over Los Angeles-area landmarks -- the Hollywood sign, Disneyland, the Pacific Ocean and others, although Curie said he could not specify.

“There are a lot of landmarks and beautiful buildings and landscape in the area that would make tremendous photo ops with the space shuttle flying near it,” he said.


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 -- Rebecca Trounson 

Picture: Nasa jet /Credit: Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times