Endeavour’s 2-Day Drive Through LA in Less Than 3 Minutes

Here’s a fantastic timelapse compilation of space shuttle Endeavour’s big drive through the streets of Los Angeles. Photographer/cinematographer Matthew Givot and his team followed the shuttle during the 2-day ‘endeavor’ — a drive that included photo-ops of the shuttle driving past several well-known L.A. landmarks. There were also some tight squeezes and ‘back-up-and-start-over’ turns and corners. Driving a space shuttle through a metropolis like LA is a little more complicated than initially thought, as the trip took 17 hours longer than originally planned. But it’s obvious from the reactions of the crowds and the look on people’s faces that Endeavour will be well-loved in her new home.

Mission 26 The Big Endeavour from Givot on Vimeo.

Below is another video of the move from NASA:

If you want to see more of the move, Robert Pearlman from collectSPACE.com has a gallery of over 150 images of the drive, and NASA’s Flickr page has a huge collection, too. Here’s a great one from Robert:

Space shuttle Endeavour drives by the iconic Randy’s Donuts in LA. Credit: Robert Pearlman, collectSPACE.com

Why Did the Space Shuttle Cross the Road?

Space Shuttle Endeavour on the streets of Los Angeles. Credit: Scott Maxwell

Why did Space Shuttle Endeavour cross the road? To get to the California Science Center, of course! About midnight local time, Endeavour began a 19-km (12-mile), two-day trip down the streets of LA as it moves from the Los Angeles International Airport to the its permanent museum home at the California Science Center. Thousands of people took the opportunity to see the rare sight of a space shuttle traveling down a street and waited in the predawn darkness to get a glimpse of the slow-moving shuttle — which topped out at speeds of 3.2 km/h (2 mph) instead of its usual 28,000 km/h (17,500 mph) when the space shuttle was in Earth orbit. Lots of onlookers snapped photos, including Scott Maxwell from JPL, one of the Mars rover drivers, who generously shared a few of his pictures, as its not everyday we get to see such sights. “Astonishingly, I think Endeavour was even slower than the rovers,” Scott said via Twitter. “Not when in motion, but it took *lots* of breaks.”

See more images from Scott and NASA below:

“Maybe this panorama will give you a sense of the excited, bustling crowd around Endeavour,” said photographer Scott Maxwell.

See Scott’s Twitter feed for more images and comments about his early-morning shuttle-watching experience.

There were lots of Tweets about Endeavour’s journey, but this might be the best picture showing the shuttle in amongst the regular goings on in LA:

The space shuttle Endeavour is seen atop the Over Land Transporter (OLT) after exiting the Los Angeles International Airport on its way to its new home at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The driver of the Over Land Transporter, who uses a joy stick to control the shuttle, is seen as he maneuvers the space shuttle Endeavour on the streets of Los Angeles. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

To make room for the five-story-tall shuttle and its 24-meter (78-foot) wingspan, about 400 trees were chopped down, overhead wires were raised, and steel plates were laid down to protect the streets and underground utilities.

Endeavour will mostly travel on wide boulevards. The cost of the move is estimated at $10 million.

You can read more details in this Yahoo News article.

And I totally stole the headline from NASA’s Bob Jacobs from his comments on Twitter.

Bringing You There: Final Shuttle Flyby Over Kennedy Space Center

This will never be seen again. Last week, the remaining Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (NASA 905) lofted a Space Shuttle into the sky for the final time. After taking off, NASA 905 and Endeavour made one final low pass over the Kennedy Space Center runway before making way towards the West coast. These 2 videos were shot for Universe Today and show these vivid moments up-close from alongside the runway.

Continue reading “Bringing You There: Final Shuttle Flyby Over Kennedy Space Center”

Space Shuttle Endeavour Flies Over Historic Golden Gate Bridge (and some chick’s house in LA)

California was invaded by an unusual flying duo today: the Space Shuttle Endeavour sitting atop a 747 airplane, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Above, you can watch it they flew over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and below are more images and video of the flybys from various locations, including a video by GamerChick5567, who said, “IT FLEW OVER MY HOUSE!!!! :P” Endeavour made its final landing at LAX in Los Angeles, and will be transported to its permanent home at the California Science Center next month.

There is a “Spot The Shuttle” page on NASA’s Flickr stream where people have been uploading their images of the shuttle flying over, so check them out here.

Flying over Monteray Bay Aquarium:

Over Moffett Field/Ames Research Center

And here’s GamerChick5567’s video:

Space shuttle Endeavour, mounted atop a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) performs a low flyby at Los Angeles International Airport, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls. See more at NASAHQ’s photo stream on Flickr.

Endeavour Departs Kennedy Forever for California Home

Image caption: Endeavour departs Kennedy Space Center forever on Sept 19 on last flight of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. Credit: Ken Kremer

Under cloudy skies at first light, Space Shuttle Endeavour departed NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida early Wednesday morning, Sept. 19, at about 7:22 a.m. EDT marking the final flight of NASA’s storied shuttle program.

The 100 ton Endeavour was secured atop NASA’s specially modified 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft for the cross-country ferry flight to California and Los Angeles International Airport.

The farewell flight went off without a hitch following two days of weather related delays. The shuttle & 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) Jumbo Jet were in tip top shape.

Image caption: Endeavour’s Final Takeoff atop modified Boeing 747 from the Kennedy Space Center on Sept. 19 to California home. Credit: Ken Kremer – www.kenkremer.com

Hordes of local spectators and excited tourists from several continents caught a magnificent last glimpse of the piggybacked pair as they flew two looping north-south farewells over the Florida Space Coast making a low pass over nearby beaches, Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, and the shuttle landing runway at Kennedy before leaving the area to a mix of emotions both happy and sad.

Then all of a sudden after some 25 minutes, the dynamic duo disappeared without warning into the hazy clouds, flying on a north east heading and across the Florida panhandle.

After making low-level passes over NASA’s Stennis Space Center in southwest Mississippi and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Endeavour touched down at the Johnson Space Center at about 10:40 a.m. at Houston’s Ellington Field for a curtailed overnight stay.

Image caption: Endeavour departs Kennedy Space Center on Sept 19 on last flight accompanied by T-38 training jet. Credit: Ken Kremer

21 years after rolling out from the Palmdale assembly facility in California where she was constructed, Endeavour landed at Edwards Air Force Base at 3:50 p.m. EDT today, Sept. 20.

Early Friday morning (Sept. 21), Endeavour and the SCA will take flight on a victory lap initially heading north for low level passes over Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area including the Golden Gate bridge – akin to the April 2012 flight of Enterprise over NYC. Then the pair will turn south and pass over NASA’s Ames Research Center, Vandenberg Air Force Base and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory before heading into the Los Angeles area and landing at Los Angeles International Airport.

In October, Endeavour will be towed over 2 days through the streets of Inglewood and Los Angelos to begin a new mission inspiring future explorers at her permanent new home at the California Science Center.

Endeavour was NASA’s youngest orbiter and flew 25 missions and traveled 122,883,151 miles during 299 days in space.

NASA’s trio of shuttle orbiters were forcibly retired in July 2011 following the successful STS-135 mission to the International Space Station.

Ken Kremer

Image caption: Endeavour prepares for final takeoff from the Shuttle Landing Facility at KSC. Credit: Brent Houston

Image caption: STS-130 astronaut Kay Hire greets space enthusiasts at the shuttle landing strip during the flyaway of Endeavour. Credit: Klaus Krueger

Ken Kremer with Space Shuttle Endeavour and the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) at the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center for final flyaway departure in September 2012 reporting for Universe Today. Credit: Brent Houston

Endeavour Poised for Final Takeoff on Sept. 19

Image caption: Endeavour atop the 747 SCA exits the Mate-Demate Device at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Sept. 17. Credit: Ken Kremer

Everyone is hoping that the third time will be the charm to get the final flight of NASA’s three decade long shuttle program underway. See my gallery of shuttle Endeavour photos departing the gantry like Mate-Demate Device at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF).

Hordes of tourists from across the globe have descended on the Florida Space Coast to catch a glimpse of space history as Endeavour takes flight for the final time.

Space Shuttle Endeavour is poised for an early morning takeoff from the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at first light on Wednesday, Sept. 19 following a two day delay due to poor weather conditions en route for the first leg of her cross country journey to California.

Image caption: Endeavour mated to NASA Boeing 747 at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Sept. 17. Credit: Ken Kremer

In the meantime, local crowds of KSC workers and enthusiastic tourists are unexpectedly enjoying a few last bonus days of up close looks at NASA’s youngest shuttle orbiter atop a 747 Jumbo Jet known as the SCA or Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

Endeavour awaits her departure orders firmly bolted on top of a specially modified 747 after being towed on Friday from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) to the shuttle landing strip. The orbiter weighs nearly 200,000 pounds or 100 tons.

Liftoff of Endeavour from the SLF at KSC was originally planned for Monday, Sep 17 with a stop along the way at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston. But those carefully laid plans were derailed when a low pressure front materialized in the northern Gulf of Mexico generating a swatch of thunderstorms.

Image caption: Endeavour atop the SCA at Shuttle Landing Facility at KSC on Sept. 17. Credit: Ken Kremer

Managers could not find a safe path to Houston and twice scrubbed Endeavour’s takeoff.

With the weather delays, the cross country ferry flight has the feel of a space shuttle launch.

NASA plans to take the final takeoff decision down to the wire, following the last weather briefing at 5 a.m. on Wednesday.

Along the way from Kennedy to Johnson, the pair will conduct several low-level flyovers of NASA centers along the flight path at about 1500 feet at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans before landing at Ellington Field near JSC.

Image caption: Endeavour atop the 747 SCA exits the Mate-Demate Device at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Sept. 17. Credit: Ken Kremer

At roughly 7:15 a.m. on Sept. 19, the SCA and Endeavour will depart Kennedy’s Shuttle Landing Facility and perform a flyover of various areas and beaches of the Space Coast, including Kennedy, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base for 20 minutes for more.

Endeavour and the SCA will take a lengthy fly around victory lap around the Los Angeles area before landing at LAX at about 11.a.m PDT on Sept 21.

The orbiter will be towed along a 12 mile path through the streets of Inglewood and LA to the California Science Center. Eventually she will be displayed vertically, in launch configuration.

Endeavour flew 25 missions and traveled 122,883,151 miles during 299 days in space.

Ken Kremer

Image caption: Endeavour atop the SCA at Shuttle Landing Facility at KSC on Sept. 17. Credit: Ken Kremer

Shuttle Endeavour mated to Jumbo Jet for Final Flight

Image caption: Endeavour mated to Boeing 747 in the Mate-Demate device at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Sept. 14 for Final Ferry Flight to California on Sep. 17. Credit: Ken Kremer

Space Shuttle Endeavour was joined to the 747 Jumbo carrier jet that will carry her majestically on Sept 17 on her final flight to the California Science Center – her permanent new home at the in Los Angeles. Enjoy my photos from onsite at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

On Friday (Sept. 14), Endeavour was towed a few miles in the predawn darkness from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB ) to the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) and the specially modified 747 known as the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, or SCA.

In a day long process, Endeavour departed the VAB at 5:04 a.m. and was hauled into the gantry-like Mate-Demate device, hoisted and then lowered onto the awaiting 747 Jumbo Jet. The pair were joined at about 2:41 p.m.

Image caption: Endeavour towed past waiting Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Sept. 14 for Final Ferry Flight to California on Sep. 17. Credit: Ken Kremer

Final work to hard mate NASA’s youngest orbiter to the SCA Jumbo Jet known as NASA 905 is due to be completed by Sunday.

The 747 crew will fly perform multiple, crowd pleasing low flyovers of the Florida space coast region, the KSC Visitor complex and the beaches – giving every spectator a thrilling front row seat to this exciting but bittersweet moment in space history as the shuttle takes flight for the very final time.

Image caption: Endeavour towed out of the Vehicle Assembly Building on the way to the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Sept. 14 for Final Ferry Flight to California on Sep. 17. Venus shines to the left. Credit: Ken Kremer – www.kenkremer.com

Everyone involved felt a strong mix of emotions from pride in the tremendous accomplishments of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program to the sad and bittersweet feeling that comes with the retirement of all 3 orbiters barely one third of the way into their design lifetime. All three shuttles could easily have flown tens of millions more miles but for lack of money and political support from Washington D.C.

Image caption: Endeavour mated on top of NASA SCA at Shuttle Landing Facility on Sept. 14 for Final Ferry Flight to California on Sep. 17. Credit: Ken Kremer

Altogether Endeavour flew 25 missions and traveled 122,883,151 miles during 299 days in space.

Ken Kremer

Image caption: Endeavour gently lowered on top of NASA SCA with Ken Kremer on hand at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility on Sept. 14 for Final Ferry Flight to California on Sep. 17. Credit: Ken Kremer

Editor’s note: Visit John O’Connor’s NASATech website for panoramic views of Endeavour’s mating:
http://nasatech.net/EndeavourMDM3_120914/

http://nasatech.net/EndeavourMDM4_120914/

http://nasatech.net/EndeavourMDM5_120914/

Endeavour’s Cross-Country Final Piggyback Ride Arrives at Kennedy

SCA Arrival at KSC on Sept. 11 for Endeavour Ferry Flight to California on Sep. 17. Credit: Ken Kremer

The clock is rapidly ticking down on the final days of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) as the proud home of NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavour.

On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the modified 747 Jumbo Jet that will ferry shuttle Endeavour piggy-back style cross-country to her new eternal home in California arrived at KSC.

The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, or SCA, touched down at the shuttle landing strip at KSC at about 5:05 p.m. EDT. See the gallery of approach and landing photos.

Image Caption: SCA Arrival at KSC on Sept. 11 for Endeavour Ferry Flight to California on Sep. 17. Credit: Ken Kremer

SCA Arrival at KSC on Sept. 11 for Endeavour Ferry Flight to California on Sep. 17. Credit: Ken Kremer

SCA Arrival Photo. Credit: Ken Kremer

The 747 landing marks the start of the process that culminates soon with the final airborne flight of the orbiter in the history of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program.

On Friday, Sept. 14 Endeavour will be hauled out of the iconic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) for the final time and moved to the Shuttle Landing Facility where she will be hoisted and mated onto the back of the jumbo jet, designated NASA 905.

SCA Arrival Photo. Credit: Jeff Seibert/wiredforspace


SCA Arrival Photo. Credit: Jeff Seibert/wiredforspace

The mated pair are due to take off at first light on Monday, Sept.17 weather permitting on a multi day trip across America before landing in California.

The 747 crew will fly perform multiple, crowd pleasing and low flyovers of the space coast area, the KSC Visitor complex and the beaches – which will give every spectator a thrilling front row seat to this thrilling and bittersweet moment in space history as the shuttle takes flight for the very final time.

Watch for my upcoming tour report taking you inside the SCA Jumbo Jet.

And I will be on-site at KSC providing on-site Endeavour departure coverage for Universe Today readers through the dramatic takeoff on Sept 17.

Ken Kremer

………

SCA Arrival Photos Credit: Klaus Krueger

Endeavour Unplugged – Last Picture Show from the Flight Deck of a Living Space Shuttle Orbiter

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At 9:58 a.m. this morning (Friday May 11), technicians unplugged Space Shuttle Endeavour marking the final power down of NASA’s last powered orbiter and termination of all power flowing to the flight deck. Today, Endeavour was euthanized. The flight deck went dark for the last time as Endeavour is being prepped inside Orbiter Processing Facility-2 (OPF-2) for final departure from the Kennedy Space Center later this year and display at her final resting place in Los Angeles.

As Endeavour was powered back up this past week for one final time to carry out decommissioning and safing activities, a tiny media group was invited to crawl inside and photographically record the flight deck as a living spaceship for the last time in history. Ken Kremer and Mike Deep were honored to receive a NASA invitation and to represent Universe Today and we share our photos of Endeavour’s last flight deck power-up here.

Flight Deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour Powered up for the final time. Credit: Mike Deep

For me, standing on the astronauts flight deck was like being transported to the bridge of the “Starship Enterprise” – but this was real, not science fiction. I was at last standing on the “Starship Endeavour” and this was the closest I ever felt to being in space. The only thing better is being in orbit.

The blue display screens used by the Shuttle Commander and Pilot were real, lit and vividly moving before my eyes, dials were active and shining and multitudes of critical gauges lined the cabin all over from front to back, left to right , top to bottom.

Flight Deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour Powered up for the final time. Shuttle Commander seat at left, Shuttle Pilot seat at right. Credit: Ken Kremer/www.kenkremer.com

Endeavour was the youngest in NASA’s fleet of three surviving orbiters and designated as vehicle OV-105. She flew 25 missions over a spaceflight career that spanned 19 years from the inaugural flight in 1992 to the final flight in 2011 to deliver the dark matter hunting Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the International Space Station (ISS). Altogether, Endeavour spent 299 days in space, orbited the Earth 4671 times and traveled over 197 million kilometers (123 million mi).

Endeavour’s power termination on May 11, 2012 comes almost exactly one year since her final launch on the 16 day long STS-134 mission on May 16, 2011. Since then technicians have been removing hazardous materials and propellants from the orbiters hydraulic and fuel lines and thoroughly cleansing Endeavour to make it safe for museum display to the general public. The power must be on to drain and purge the toxic materials.

Flight Deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour. Pilot seat. Credit: Mike Deep

This week I watched as technicians removed components of Endeavours fuel lines from the aft compartments that might possibly be reused at some future date inside NASA’s new Heavy Lift rocket, dubbed the SLS or Space Launch System.

Power to NASA’s two other orbiters, Discovery and Atlantis, was terminated in December on the 16th and 22rd respectively. Read my earlier story at Universe Today, here.

Following the forced retirement of the Space Shuttle Program for lack of money after the STS-135 mission in July 2011, all three orbiters were cleansed and purged of toxic contaminants in preparation for their final assignment as museum pieces.

The orbiters had a lot of usable life left in them, having flown barely a third of the 100 mission design lifetime.

Discovery was the first orbiter to leave the Kennedy Space Center. On April 17, Discovery was flown atop a modified Boeing 747 jumbo Jet to the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center outside Washington, DC. Discovery was towed inside the museum on April 19 and placed on permanent public display.

Flight Deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour. Shuttle Commander seat. Credit: Ken Kremer

Since the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program, the US has had absolutely zero capability to send astronauts or cargo to the International Space Station. For at least another 4 or 5 years, the US will be completely reliant on the Russians to ferry American astronauts to the ISS until around 2016 or 2017 when NASA’s hopes that one or more of the privately developed commercial “space taxis” will be ready to launch.

Devastating and continuous cuts to NASA’s budget by visionless politicians in Washington, DC have forced repeated delays to the initial launch of the commercial crew spacecraft- such as the SpaceX Dragon.

Flight Deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour. Shuttle Commander seat. Credit: Mike Deep
Flight Deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour. Credit: Mike Deep
Flight Deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour. Credit: Mike Deep
Flight Deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour. Pilot seat. Credit: Mike Deep
Side view of Flight Deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour behind Pilot seat. Credit: Ken Kremer
Dr. Ken Kremer aboard the USS Starship Endeavour in dry dock at the Kennedy Space Center and at the conclusion of her 19 year mission to boldly go where no NASA Space Shuttle has gone before !

To be one of the last humans on Earth present as an eyewitness to the historic last power up of the last living shuttle – Endeavour – while standing immersed inside the astronauts flight deck and experience what are truly the final days of NASA’s 30 year long Space Shuttle Program was simultaneously humbling, thrilling beyond words and incredibly sad – for all the missions that might yet have been and the Exploration and Discovery that’s yet to be accomplished on the High Frontier.

Ken Kremer

Flying the Space Shuttles to their New Homes

The now-retired space shuttle orbiters will soon be heading to their new museum homes. April 17, 2012 is the current date planned for a modified Boeing 747 to give a piggyback ride to shuttle Discovery to bring it from Kennedy Space Center to Washington Dulles International Airport, where it will then be towed to the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, located adjacent to the airport. Just how will this be done? The video above explains the procedure, and of course, this is not the first time a space shuttle has ridden atop the specially designed airplane. Every time a shuttle landed in Edwards Air Force Base in California (54 times) or New Mexico (once), it had to be transported back to Kennedy Space Center via an airplane.
Continue reading “Flying the Space Shuttles to their New Homes”