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Space Shuttle Endeavour Final Flight

Getty Images, photo by Handout

It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, a chance to see the final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. It wasn’t flying in space, it was piggybacked on a 747 and flying over the skies of California. Tens of thousands of onlookers climbed hilltops and rooftops, came out of office buildings and houses, and got out of their cars to look at the historic final flight of the Endeavour. It flew over the State Capital, Sacramento, to the Golden Gate Bridge to Disneyland.

The farewell stretched from Sacramento to Los Angles as spectators applauded and cheered the final flight of Endeavor. Cell phones and cameras were out in force as the shuttle passed overhead. The Endeavour was the fifth and final NASA space shuttle to be built. It flew its first mission in 1992 and its last mission was May 2011 and was originally planned for the final mission of the Space Shuttle program, but Atlantis got that privilege. The Endeavour was named after the British HMS Endeavour which took Capitan James Cook on his first discovery mission in 1768. The spelling of the Endeavour is the British spelling with ‘our’, the American spelling is with ‘or’ but NASA themselves misspelled it….’they can put a man on the moon but they can’t spell endeavor’?  In 1993, it made the first service mission to the Hubble Telescope and flew some of the most high-profile shuttle missions, covering 25 flights and more that 123 million miles.

The Endeavour will be a museum piece now, after NASA ended its 30 year shuttle program in 2011. The shuttle will spend a few weeks at a United Airlines hanger at the LA airport, then be transferred to the California Science Center, where it will go on display October 30th.

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