Endeavour's Final Flight
One Moment in Time
There are times in our lives we remember well: certain days of significance, both good and bad. But I do not really mean times, or days - more like mere moments: a few seconds perhaps, when we are part of a happening. Emotions associated with these happenings are so intense, and the memory seared into our brain with such clarity, that we can remember even insignificant details of that day. We replay in our mind the minutes leading up to the happening, the event itself, and the fleeting and floating aftermath of the associated adrenaline rush. Like a recurrent dream we can never quite wake from, the reality sits with us, becomes part of us, and in some way, we are forever changed. Most of these events are personal to us. But sometimes, they affect the entire nation.
These events bring us together and carve out a slice of Americana which embeds itself into our culture like a tapestry trying to reshape itself. Days later, the new is old and the event slides into history, yet we stay mindful of the vulnerability and goodness of people that such things bring out. The death of a sitting President will do this (think Franklin Delano Roosevelt & John F Kennedy) or a civil rights leader slain in his prime (Martin Luther King, Jr.) as will horrific events (the explosion of Space Shuttle Challenger, or 9.11). Most of us old enough to remember any of these happenings can tell you exactly what was going on in our worlds at that precise moment. Yet, these events were tragic, and along with National Pride, their memories invoke feelings of sadness, shock, or even fear.
In the fall of 2012, NASA, in its transition to boldly go where no man has gone before, (and in the process, retire the Space Shuttle Program) created such an event on a happier vibe as it toured Space Shuttle Endeavour on piggy-back of the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Over two days, Endeavour gracefully crisscrossed Southern and Southwestern United States as she made her way from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Los Angeles International Airport (She stayed parked at LAX for a few weeks to prepare for her last leg of the trip to the California Science Center). Only this was not just one moment in time, but many moments, with a direct impact on many people. The kids who got to see Endeavour flying low over their heads will certainly remember the moment just as strongly as we remember 9.11, and perhaps with even more gusto - because this was no tour of grief and sadness, but a joyous ride and a fond farewell: a stepping stone to higher ground and an incredible journey of gratitude for a job well done all along her way.
It is ironic, in a way, that Endeavour would be the one to take this long flight of fanfare, rather than one of her sister ships who were also retiring, because she was born to replace Challenger. She was the "baby shuttle" - created last, and the last to find her new home in retirement. Endeavour was created from the ashes of tragedy and her final flight was a tour of glory.
- Taking off: Cape Canaveral, Florida: Kennedy Space Center
- Stennis Space Center, Hancock County, Mississippi
- Marshall Space Flight Center, New Orleans
- Johnson Space Center, Ellington Field, Houston
- Biggs Army Airfield, El Paso, TX
- White Sands Test Facility, New Mexico
- State capitol - Austin, TX
- Tucson, Arizona (special pass for former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, who was Endeavor's last commander)
- Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA
- State Capital, Sacramento, CA
- San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge
- Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, near San Jose CA
- Vandenberg Air Force Base
- Santa Monica
- Silicon Valley
- Los Angeles
o Griffith Observatory
o Hollywood Hills
o Dodger Stadium
o NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
o Queen Mary and USS Iowa: Long Beach harbor
Endeavour's most exciting missions:
Repairs to Hubble Space Telescope
Helped build International Space Station
Carried first U.S. made piece "Unity" to Russian base module "Zarya"
=====Then carried last node of Space Station "Tranquility" 12 years later
=============Also took up a room of windows on that flight
Final Mission in 2011: Deliver & install Particle Detector, which will search the cosmos for dark matter and "other exotic phenomena"
Flew total of 123 Million Miles
Circled Earth 4,700 times
Made 25 flights to space
Spent 299 days in space
Social Media's Endeavour Tour - Chris Voss Show
My friend was selected to be part of the social media pool who had the privilege of viewing the shuttle Endeavor close up on her final tour. He did a great job of chronicling her final journey. Highly recommend!
Endeavour's most exciting missions
- Repairs to Hubble Space Telescope
- Helped build International Space Station
o Carried first U.S. made piece "Unity" to Russian base module "Zarya"
o Then carried last node of Space Station "Tranquility" 12 years later
Â§ Also took up a room of windows on that flight
- Final Mission in 2011: Deliver & install Particle Detector, which will search the cosmos for dark matter and other exotic phenomena"
She's a Real Trooper~
Endeavour over Earth's Horizon
Space station assembly is complete.
— Mark Kelly, four-time astronaut, commander of STS-134, the last flight of the space shuttle Endeavour, 27 May 2011
Endeavour's Last Ride - From LAX Through Downtown L.A.
October 13-15, She rides from LAS to the California Space Center. Her last Ride ever!