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Space shuttle Endeavour: Where to spot the shuttle

September 20, 2012 |  8:30 am

This post has been amended, to reflect the one-hour delay for departure from Edwards Air Force Base.

Space shuttle Endeavour’s historic aerial tour of Los Angeles will be the first and last time a shuttle is flown over the city — a sight you’re not going to want to miss.

Los Angeles Times reporters and photographers have put together a list of prime viewing locations for those hoping to spot Endeavour as it travels 1,500 feet over some of Southern California’s most iconic landmarks.

The shuttle will leave Edwards Air Force Base about 8:15 a.m. Friday, one hour later than had been originally scheduled. Members of the public won’t be allowed on base, but Endeavour will fly low over Palmdale, Lancaster, Rosamond and Mojave before heading north to Sacramento, so those living in the area should have a chance to see the shuttle before it’s gone.

Space shuttle Endeavour over Los Angeles: Reader photos

Endeavour is expected to dip low over downtown Sacramento — specifically the Capitol building — about 9:30 a.m. Friday. From there, the modified Boeing 747 carrying the shuttle will turn south to San Francisco.

A list of San Francisco landmarks has not been released — but we would guess the Golden Gate Bridge will be included. Officials have advised onlookers to head toward:

  • Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
  • Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland
  • Exploratorium, San Francisco, 
  • Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • NASA’s Ames/Moffet Field, Mountain View 

The shuttle is scheduled to reach Los Angeles airspace about 11:30 a.m., and is expected to circle the Southland at least once before touching down at Los Angeles International Airport about an hour later.

FULL COVERAGE: Endeavour's final journey to L.A.

Officials said there could be more in store (you’ll note the Santa Monica Pier and Hollywood Sign aren’t on the list) but we know that Endeavour will fly over at least the following:

  • Los Angeles City Hall
  • California Science Center
  • Getty Center
  • Griffith Observatory
  • Queen Mary
  • Long Beach Aquarium
  • Malibu, Venice and Huntington beaches
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Universal Studios
  • Disneyland

You can probably head to any of those locations to see the shuttle pass overhead. But here are some of the places we think might be best.

The Griffith Park Observatory should be a great spot to get a close-up glimpse of the shuttle as it passes overhead and photograph it with the city in the background. There’s also plenty of space throughout the park that should offer some up-close views.

With plenty of parking and ample room for crowds, Universal CityWalk should be a fun viewing area as the shuttle flies over Universal Studios.

 INTERACTIVE: Endeavour comes to California.

Down in Orange County, Disneyland would offer a similar experience.  Maybe you can even take a picture of the shuttle with Sleeping Beauty Castle in the background.

Downtown, the best spots for seeing the shuttle as it passes over Los Angeles City Hall will probably be tall buildings or the top levels of nearby parking garages.

The shuttle will also dip low over the California Science Center — the Exposition Park museum that will permanently house Endeavour — which offers plenty of parking and grassy areas for seating.

In Long Beach, one of the parks that dot Shoreline Drive or Ocean Boulevard is probably one of the best places to see the shuttle as it passes over the Queen Mary and Aquarium of the Pacific.

And if you want to watch the shuttle actually land at LAX, you’re in luck. El Segundo police are blocking off sections of Imperial Avenue for public viewing. Beginning at 9 a.m., police will close the 300 to 600 blocks of East Imperial Avenue and the 700 block of West Imperial Avenue to traffic, a stretch that includes Clutter’s Park.

Tweet your photos to @latimes or @lanow with the hashtag #SpotTheShuttle. Don't forget to tell us where you are! Photos can also be uploaded here or emailed to latimes-2do82r@olapic.it. Check back -- we'll be compiling the best reader photos.


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— Kate Mather

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