Space Shuttle Endeavor arrives in Style to Los Angeles
The Space Shuttle Endeavor has reached it’s L.A. home at the California Science Center. After NASA discontinued its shuttle program a decision was made to place all of them in museums around the United States. With 25 space flight missions under its belt Endeavor, the youngest of the shuttle family was chosen for display at the California Science Center. After a lot of careful planning, NASA set up an aerial parade around the San Fransico Bay area and Southern California to welcome its arrival on the West Coast. On the 20th of September the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) and Endeavor arrived at NASA’s Dryden facility at Edwards AFB from Cape Canaveral with an overnight stop at the Johnson Space center in Houston Texas .
On Sept.21 the 747 SCA & Endeavor were off on its final journey departing Edwards AFB around 0730 pst with a NASA chase F-18 in tow made passes at Mojave Spaceport, Palmdale AF Plant 42 before heading north San Francisco/Bay area completing flybys at Moffet Field/Aames Research center and the Golden Gate bridge, before heading back south down the coast towards the So Cal Los Angeles area.
The 747 SCA & Shuttle along with two NASA F-18 chase planes (capturing photos & video) arrived at 1100 am for its first series of passes, beginning with the Santa Monica Pier and flying eastbound to Downtown LA with its first very low pass straight down LAX’s rwy 24R North complex and then heading to major points of interest though out the Southland including (Hollywood, Nasa JPL, California Science center, Disneyland etc) and completing its final flyby at LAX South complex. As it made its pass, traffic literally stopped everywhere even on the freeways with people wanting to catch a glimpse. While local law enforcement had a field day handing out traffic citations!
My position for capturing the arrival was a 1/2 mile east of runway 25 at the LAX South complex on the top of a local ten story building as crowds gathered with an estimated 100,000 spectators surrounding the perimeters of KLAX causing a few traffic snarls!
As the 747 SCA & shuttle landed the crowds could be heard cheering after just witnessing the last ever flight of the shuttle on top the SCA. After arriving at LAX and later in the evening the shuttle was then de-mated from the SCA and placed in a hangar until transport by road to the California Science center.
In the very early hours of Oct. 12th the Shuttle Endeavor started on its last mission, a 12 mile journey by road which was estimated to be completed in two days but ended up taking three days.
Trees were cut down and areas of roadway were reinforced with thousands of steel plates. Throughout the route Endeavor was moved by the Sarens Group which provided a 160 wheel carrier controlled by remote and moved at a top speed of 2mph .
Also Toyota loaned a Toyota Tundra pickup truck to tow the shuttle across the overpass of the 405 fwy on Manchester ave. As it passed through neighborhoods and strip malls, heading toward its final destination. At times, the shuttle barely cleared trees, houses and street signs along a course heavily prepared for the trip. The shuttle also made a couple stops including the Forum in Inglewood to allow the public to get a closer look before moving back along it’s route.
My position to capture the shuttle was on Crenshaw Blvd and Hyde Park Ave. The shuttle was due to pass me between 11 am-Noon but ended up making it by closer to 3pm. After making one more stop for a public viewing at the Crenshaw/Baldwin Hills plaza located on Crenshaw & King Blvd the Space Shuttle Endeavor was on its final stretch before reaching its destination around noon on Sunday Oct 14th, at the same hour that Felix Baumgartner was making history jumping from the Red Bull Stratos!
I would like to give thanks the following:
Property management at The La Cienega Building for providing the rooftop access to cover the Endeavors arrival @ KLAX.
Dr Robert Tamaki D.D.S., Maria Ramirez & staff.
David Robnett & Family of Robnett Electrical, Inc.
Brian Emch of Socal Airshow Review- providing photos of SCA and Shuttle arrival to Edwards AFB and departure flyby at AF Plant 42.
Glen Tagami of Tagami Photography , providing photos of Shuttles early morning after hours initial move starting out on its 12 mile journey.