September 7th, 2012
11:42 AM ET

Space Shuttle Endeavour's final flight charted

Space Shuttle Endeavour will soon make its final journey and will retire at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. But it will make some stops and flyovers along the way, NASA said Friday.

Endeavour, piggybacked on the back of a modified 747 airplane, is scheduled to leave Florida's Kennedy Space Center at sunrise on September 17. After flyovers of the area it will head west. Endeavour will make low flyovers of NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the Michoud Assembly plant near New Orleans.

The next stop, NASA says, will be Houston, which bid for a retired shuttle but did not get one. Several members of the Texas legislative delegation were outraged and expressed their displeasure to NASA, but to no avail.

As Endeavour approaches the Texas coast, it will fly over Houston, Galveston and Clearlake. The 747 carrying Endeavour will touch down at Ellington Field near the Johnson Space Center. Endeavour will spend the rest of September 17 and all of the September 18 there.

At sunrise on the 19th Endeavour will depart Houston and refuel in El Paso at Biggs Army Airfield. The next low flyovers at 1,500-feet will take place over White Sands Tests Facility in New Mexico and the Dryden Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

If for some reason a shuttle cannot land in California or Florida, White Sands has served as an emergency shuttle landing facility. White Sands was used once for a shuttle landing as a test. So much sand was kicked up into the vehicle that after that, White Sands became a last resort landing site.

Edwards in California is where shuttles landed during the early days of the program, and later when weather at the Kennedy Space Center was not cooperative.

After the Edwards flyover, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, SCA, will land at Dryden.

The extensive flyovers will continue on the September 20, first over Northern California. The SCA is scheduled to pass near the Ames Research Center outside San Francisco. It will make numerous flyovers of landmarks, NASA says, in multiple cities including San Francisco and Sacramento.

The final flyovers will take place over Los Angeles before landing at LAX around 11 a.m. Pacific time.

Endeavour will remain there until October 12 when it will be towed through the streets of Los Angeles to the California Science Center.

Endeavour made its first trip to space on May 7, 1992. It replaced Challenger, which exploded in 1986, killing seven crew members, including teacher Christa McAuliffe.

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soundoff (61 Responses)
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  3. Jerry

    NASA really screwed the pooch on the whole "where to display the Shuttles" business. Should've been 1 at KSC in Florida, 1 at Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, (which is "Mission Control" for all manned U.S. space flights,) 1 at The Smithsonian, and 1 at The National Museum of the Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. The only other place that should've even been in the discussion was Edwards AFB.

    September 7, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Bob

      NASA did not make the final decision on where to place them. It was Congress and the White House.

      September 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  4. xfiler93

    what a shame. retired way before their time. sickening.

    September 7, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Gezellig

      Wrong. The shuttle should have been retired a long time ago. Simply put, the side-by-side construction was inherently flawed. Had the shuttle been built as a stack, it might have still been flying.

      September 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  5. DON MacKay

    Sacramento !!
    What the heck did Sacto do for the space program?
    Why not a flyover Dayton where the Wright Bros. began? Or Kitty Hawk?
    Or San Diego from where Lindbergh began his historic flight?.
    Politics at work; at its lowest level.

    September 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  6. B

    It should have been sent to Seattle that Build a special building and exhibit area for the shuttle at the Museum of Flight on Boeing field!

    September 7, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  7. Pebkac

    Send it to Chicago to commemorate the demise of the space program along with the rest of Obama's failures.

    September 7, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • startweety

      It wasn't Obama that ended the shuttle program. This happened during the Bush Administration. Get your facts right.

      September 15, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  8. Rod C. Venger

    The shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line, is it not? So why is NASA going to spend millions flying the shuttle in circles over the US and then drag it through the street of LA...of all the stupid ideas in the world, that last probably tops them all. We're broke. STOP PI55ING OUR MONEY AWAY!

    September 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Havok

      Actually, in this case it is not. Pythagorean theorem only works on 2D surfaces, not 3D. Google "great circle route" or "great circle navigation". Then again, I don't think that's what you were going for.

      September 7, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  9. Dave Bowman

    Send it to the City Museum in St. Louis. For anyone that's been there, you'll understand how it would fit the bizarro re-purposed theme.

    September 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  10. jesparza

    In my opinion, one shuttle should go to each Kennedy Space Center, and Houston Mission Control. They deserve it.

    September 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Doh

      If that's the case, California, Florida, and Texas should each get one. That's where they were built, launched, and controlled, respectively. WTH did New York or Washington directly do?

      September 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  11. HonestDave

    I guess the idea of putting them where the most people can see them isn't too selfish. How about this angle, they were placed where the most taxpayers who funded them can see them. Not to mention most of us didn't get the benifit of the gerat jobs that came with the program you greedy bast%$ds. What a bunch of spoiled babies.

    September 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  12. enuftrashtalk

    Ha! I love the the adminstration dissed those Texas teabaggers . . . serves 'em right.

    September 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Havok

      You're an idiot. The people of Houston deserve to have the shuttle displayed there, forget the politicians.

      September 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  13. tinhorn

    come on people, i love the space shuttle, but save one and recycle the rest. They coated a vietnam era jet in concrete at a local park near my dads house when i was a kid. Toddlers crapped all over it, i bet it woulda been happier in the arizona desert or made into a toaster... they aren't worth millions if they aren't flying!

    September 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  14. Rob

    Screw the trees! Cut them all down. I'm just jealous because I can't cut all the trees down in my city to have the Space Shuttle here. I will have to visit there I guess!

    September 7, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  15. Dan

    The answer: sky crane. We know it works and then no trees have to be cut!

    September 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  16. Don

    This makes it sound like the shuttle will be going from Edwards to Dryen. Dryden is the NASA facility within Edwards AFB. The shuttle will be landing at Edwards.

    September 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  17. Wizzy

    Erm. Can't they remove the shuttle's wings for the road trip? Yes they can. So the cost of removing the wings is the price of those trees lost?

    September 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  18. MC

    Houston didn't even bid to earn a shuttle. There were financial requirements for the host location to be able to support having a shuttle. Houston never bid, nor were they qualified. They just wanted to whine and see if they could make anough noise, they could get one for free.

    September 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  19. Karen

    There were a lot of people in the L.A. area that worked on Space Shuttle parts, programming, etc., plus there were many landings at Edwards, plus the museum complex where it wil be on display is not only accessible to millions of locals, it is also easy for the millions of tourists to visit. How many people vacation in Houston?

    September 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  20. Josh

    "Several members of the Texas legislative delegation were outraged and expressed their displeasure to NASA, but to no avail."

    Texas already had OV-095, and received OV-100 this year, and will keep them both. Texas is simply greedy.

    September 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  21. MikeN

    I wonder how much this is costing each tax payer? Why isn't this money being used for the "underfunded" space program instead of to show off a program that has been discontnued? Awesome use of government resources!!

    September 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Josh

      The shuttles were put out to bid, and these places PAID for them.

      September 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Doh

      Sounds like someone doesn't pay very much attention to the news. Why are people allowed to comment on topics they read one article about and think they know everything about again?

      September 7, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  22. Joscar

    They better watch that no one puts a parking boot on the 747 when it's on the field in Texas. They may try to impound the shuttle to keep it.

    I live in LA and work for a company that is designing the building it will be housed in. The proposal that Los Angeles put together on how the shuttle would be housed, displayed (vertically and configured for launch with the external tank and SRB's) and used for educational purposes is what clinched this deal.

    I'm sorry that Houston wasn't chosen but I read somewhere months ago that the condition they've let other NASA artifacts end up in when they promised to take care of them counted against them.

    In my opinion Houston got NASA primarily because of LBJ. Why else center the space program there when the launches were done in Florida and California? The shuttle never landed in Texas just California in the beginning then Florida with New Mexico used for emergencies. It's like someone said "we have Naval ports on both coasts but lets build a huge Naval base with our headquarters in Nebraska".

    When the Strategic Air Command was located in Bellevue, NE (Omaha) it was done with some logic. There was already and area that had been a bomber plant, it was in the middle of the country so would take the longest to get to during an enemy attack and also provided a central hub for the telecommunication infrastructure needed. (I've always heard that one of the reasons Omaha became such a center for telemarketing is because of the capacity of the phone systems put in place for SAC. multiple redundancies that became less and less important as technology improved so they could be turned over for civilian use.)

    September 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  23. jaimie

    RIP Space Shuttle

    September 7, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  24. JMV

    How about Charlotte, NC? We are always missing all the fun :(

    September 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  25. Art2noise

    Southern California is where several of the plants were when the Endeavour was built. My uncle helped produced parts for the Space Shuttle program (in Burbank) as one of hundreds of contractors for this prestigious program. Also, let's not forget that JPL is here in Southern California. To say that L.A. is "The space captial of the US" is not necessarily true, but we did help build it up and continue to strive to keep it up.

    September 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Doh

      Actually, nearly all of NASA's spacecraft have been built in California.

      September 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  26. Shuffler

    Amazing snub of Space Center Houston.

    September 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Skippy

      Texas should be snubbed...as often as possible!

      September 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
      • Havok

        Ignorant idiot. I'm not even from TX, just hate to see that kind of ignorance.

        September 7, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  27. skyburner

    No comment on the 400 trees LA county killed to get Endeavor down the streets to the museum – what a stupid, stupid plan!

    September 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • David M

      I agree 100%. It's nothing short of stupidity to cut down 400 trees. And then to say they would all be replanted adds insult to injury. I'm sure they will get planted but it will take years to mature to the point the trees are that are being cut. But, it is California. I'm not surprised at all.

      September 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Michael

      I agree. Cutting down those trees should never have been done. It's a sad state of affairs that anyone would do that.

      September 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • O-Pity-Me

      One of those tres was My Huggin Tree!! (tears tears-) O! but new trees will replace them quickly, and extend the net lifetime! (now I feel better).

      September 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Doh

      They're replacing each felled tree with two new ones, and you do realize that California is basically the tree-hugger capital of the country? They've already got more environmental programs protecting this and that than the any other state.

      September 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • LeimertPark Homeowner

      This is beyond ridiculous. Many of these street trees are more than 60 years old, and the offer to replace them is insulting. Shame on you Mr. Mayor of Inglewood for not seeing the Big Picture. Take the Wings Off!!! The Shuttle ain't goin' on another flight. It can be rebuilt, just like the 747 that's there now. This would not be an issue in more affluent sections of the Los Angeles area. Ironically, a good chunk of the path to the Science Center is being discussed for the METRO Crenshaw/LAX Line... how convenient!!!

      September 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  28. Snacklefish

    Red state snubbing by the blue state administration. Yep, building bridges.

    September 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  29. TexDoc

    How did NASA in Houston not get a shuttle?

    September 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Josh

      Texas already had OV-095, and received OV-100 this year. Ya can't have everything.

      You're just too greedy.

      September 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
      • Mo

        Josh: don't be a jerk.

        Houstonians weren't upset about LA getting a shuttle. The ties between LA and NASA and the shuttle are clear, and there is no other shuttle going to the west coast. Houstonians were upset about New York getting one, which has no ties to the Shuttle, and is not that far from DC, where the Smithsonian Air and Space museum will be housing one. That was a travesty.

        And yes, all the old rockets at JSC are outside except for the SaturnV, which had an ugly building put up around it a few years ago. As far as tourists, yes, the cities of New York and LA get more, but Space Center Houston gets roughly the same number of visitors per year as New York's Intrepid museum. The fact is, visitors to New York have other destinations in mind besides that place.

        But to say Houston didn't bid is an outright lie. To say Houston is being greedy to want one real shuttle (ie, not a plywood mockup) is asinine. A huge number of people in Houston have spent their entire lives working on Shuttle, and it was an enormous insult to not send any of them there.

        September 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
      • Doh

        The real travesty is that New Yorkers are satisfied with leaving it OUT IN THE OPEN on deck of the Intrepid for wind, rain, and snow to perform its wear and tear on the shuttle. Shows how much they really care about preserving it versus it simply being another NY attraction.

        September 7, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  30. zGroove Meister

    Not sure why Texas felt left out – they got the Columbia.

    September 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • challer9

      Although it has been about 9 years, still a little too soon.

      September 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • wingnut

      Man that is just wrong.

      September 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Derp

      Maybe Texas should go to war with Florida over it. I mean, they already got the first one, Challenger.

      September 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  31. Jed Clampett

    Wow. LA. "The space capital of the US" huh....

    September 7, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • TexDoc

      Most space cadets I've met are from L.A.

      September 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm |

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