Space shuttle Endeavor makes last landing
|September 24, 2012||Posted by Ocean Shipping Communication China under Air News||
LOS ANGELES – Space shuttle Endeavor safely touched down at the Los Angeles International Airport Friday after a whirlwind aerial hurrah around California landmarks, marking its final landing after a three-decade career in space.
“On top, on top,” a two-year-old boy screamed as the shuttle strapped to the back of a modified 747 aircraft passed overhead at LAX.
The pair landed around 12:50 pm local time (1950 GMT) after a nearly five-hour flyover. Endeavor will remain at an airport hangar for several weeks and will be towed through the streets to its new home at California Science Center near downtown.
“It’s a very special moment for Endeavor to come bake home to California where it was built,” Michael Curie, public affairs specialist of NASA Headquarters told Xinhua.
NASA’s shuttle fleet, which retired last year, was assembled in Palmdale near Edwards Air Force Base where Endeavor took off Friday morning and began its California aerial tour. The flyover took Endeavor over Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood Sign and other landmarks en route to the Los Angeles airport.
“It’s fantastic! We are very excited… I bring my grandson here and I want him to see it. And he saw it and he waved to the shuttle,” L.A. citizen Jesse Oliver told Xinhua at the Los Angeles International Airport.
Endeavor replaced Challenger which blew up during liftoff in 1986. Endeavor flew its final voyage in May, 2011, having traveled 115 million miles (184 million km) during 25 missions and carried 139 people into orbit. It flew some of the most iconic payloads in the space shuttle program history, including “The Camera That Saved Hubble” and “The Mission That Mapped the World.”