By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
The Space Shuttle Endeavour started its journey to its new home in California on September 19, but not without making a stop in Houston first. Endeavour stopped for an overnight visit at Ellington Field in Houston before departing at sunrise Thursday, September 20, to continue on its way to Los Angeles for permanent display.
On the morning of the landing, Endeavour flew approximately 1,500 feet above various areas of Houston, Clear Lake and Galveston before landing at Ellington.
After landing at Ellington, Endeavour came to a stop near the NASA Hangar 990 pedestrian gate. The public was able to view the space shuttle from as close as 100 feet away.
Endeavour was the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger, which was destroyed 73 seconds after its launch on January 28, 1986. Endeavour first flew in May 1992 on mission STS-49 and its last mission STS-134 was in May 2011.
After low level flyovers above NASA and civic landmarks across the country and in California, Endeavour was delivered to Los Angeles International Airport on September 21, 2012. The orbiter was slowly and carefully transported through the streets of Los Angeles and Inglewood three weeks later, from October 11-14, to her final destination at the California Science Center in Exposition Park. The exhibit was expected to be open to the public on October 30, 2012, at the temporary Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion of the museum. A new addition to the Science Center, called the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, is under construction as Endeavour’s permanent home.