Space shuttle Endeavour, mounted atop NASA’s modified 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, will make the final ferry flight of the Space Shuttle Program era when it departs Sept. 17, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida headed to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Oct. 11, 2011, NASA transferred title and ownership of Endeavour to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Under the terms of a Space Act Agreement with the science center, NASA will safely transport Endeavour to LAX for a planned Sept. 20 arrival.
In cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration, the SCA is scheduled to conduct low-level flyovers at about 1,500 feet above locations along the planned flight path. The exact timing and path of the ferry flight will depend on weather conditions and operational constraints. Some planned flyovers or stopovers could be delayed or cancelled. If the ferry flight must be postponed for any reason, an additional advisory will be issued.
At sunrise Sept. 17, the SCA and Endeavour will depart Kennedy’s Shuttle Landing Facility and perform a flyover of various areas of the Space Coast, including Kennedy, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base.
The aircraft will fly west and conduct low flyovers of NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. As it arrives over the Texas Gulf Coast area, the SCA will perform low flyovers above various areas of Houston, Clear Lake and Galveston before landing at Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Weather permitting, the SCA and Endeavour will stay at Ellington the remainder of Sept. 17 and all day Sept. 18.
At sunrise Sept. 19, the aircraft will depart Houston, make a refueling stop at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas, and conduct a low-level flyover of White Sands Test Facility near Las Cruces, N.M. before landing later in the day at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.
Early morning, after sunrise Sept. 20, the SCA and Endeavour will take off from Dryden. Flyovers are planned after departure over the nearby cities of Palmdale, Lancaster and Rosamond before the SCA-Endeavour combo head to Northern California for a loop around Sacramento, San Francisco and NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field near San Jose before heading south for a final low-level flyover of several locations in the Los Angeles area before touchdown at LAX. The aircraft also will conduct a flyover of many Los Angeles sites before landing about 11 a.m., PDT, at LAX.
Social media users are encouraged to share their Endeavour sightings using the hashtags #spottheshuttle and #OV105, Endeavour’s orbiter vehicle designation.
After arrival at LAX, Endeavour will be removed from the SCA and spend a few weeks at a United Airlines hangar undergoing preparations for transport and display. Endeavour then will travel through Inglewood and Los Angeles city streets on a 12-mile journey from the airport to the science center, arriving in the evening Oct. 13.
Beginning Oct. 30, the shuttle will be on display in the science center’s Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion, embarking on its new mission to commemorate past achievements in space and educate and inspire future generations of explorers.
Endeavour completed 25 missions, spent 299 days in orbit, and orbited Earth 4,671 times while traveling 122,883,151 miles.
For information about NASA’s transfer of space shuttles to museums, visit: www.nasa.gov/transition.