Where Endeavour Will Fly Over Before Landing in L.A. [UPDATED]
The space shuttle Endeavour isn't exactly taking a direct flight for its last journey in the air before settling down in Los Angeles at the California Science Center. Endeavour is scheduled to take part in a series of "fly-overs" above key sites in Southwestern states and in California before touching down in L.A. Thursday morning Endeavour took off at 5 a.m. Pacific time from Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, according to City News Service. Before making a fuel stop in El Paso, Texas, the space shuttle--traveling atop a modified Boeing 747 called a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft--has already done low-level fly-overs of Clear Lake, the Johnson Space Center and downtown Houston before heading for a pass over downtown Austin near the Texas state capitol building.
More fly-overs today will find Endeavour swooping over the White Sands Test Facility near Las Cruces in southern New Mexico and Tucson, Arizona, the latter of which to be done in honor of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly. Said NASA:
“NASA decided to honor that request to pay our respects to a long-time agency supporter in former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Kelly, who commanded Endeavour’s final mission, STS-134. The flight over Tucson will add no additional time or cost to the delivery of Endeavour.”
Endeavour will land at Edwards Air Force Base, near where it was built in Palmdale.
Friday morning, Endeavour will take off from Edwards and head north to conduct low-level fly-overs of Sacramento and San Francisco, before turning south to give Angelenos all over the county spectacular views of the spacecraft before landing at Los Angeles International Airport. Endeavour is expected to be in local airspace at around 10:30 a.m. and will arrive at LAX about an hour later.
So what L.A-area locations will get an official fly-over Friday morning? The list so far includes: Los Angeles City Hall, the Getty Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Griffith Observatory, the California Science Center, The Queen Mary, the Long Beach Aquarium, Disneyland, Universal Studios, and the beaches of Malibu and Venice. Other sites could be added to the list before Friday morning.
Officials caution that if you want to see Endeavour in its fly-overs, to be sure to do so from a safe place (and not, for example, while you're driving). L.A. Now has some suggestions for where to go to see the fly-overs locally. Patrols will be set up outside LAX and loitering will not be permitted there.
After landing at LAX, Endeavour will stay put until October 12, when it will journey on city streets to the Science Center.
UPDATE 3:25 PM:
While some aspects of the route are being finalized, and the Northern California portion contingent on weather, we've found this map of Los Angeles-area locations over which Endeavour is expected to fly between approximately 10:30 a.m. and Noon Friday.
View Space Shuttle Endeavour Fly-Over Locations in a larger map
UPDATE Friday Sept. 21 8:30 AM: Endeavour's L.A. Fly-Overs Will Begin at 11:40 A.M.