Endeavour's Retirement Flight

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The NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour is headed for retirement at the California Science Center and new details about the Shuttle's trip from Kennedy Space Center to LAX could create widespread photo opportunities. Endeavor is scheduled to leave Kennedy at dawn on Sept. 17, atop a modified 747 transport. It will fly over Florida's Space Coast, NASA's Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, MS and Endeavor's assembly plant in New Orleans. It will head next to points in Texas, including Clear Lake and Galveston, before putting down at Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center, outside of Houston. The next leg is scheduled to begin Sept. 19, carrying the vehicle to Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas, followed by low-level flyovers at White Sands Test facility near Las Cruces, N.M. Its final stop of the day will be at Edwards Air Force base in the Mojave Desert. Sept. 20, for Endeavour, begins and ends in California.

On Sept. 20, the Shuttle will leave Edwards for LAX but it will take a circuitous route. It is expected to first be carried north to the San Francisco Bay area, flying as low as 1500 feet at Moffett Field. It will then fly past multiple landmarks in local cities, including San Francisco and Sacramento, before heading south. Residents of the Los Angeles Basin should expect to see the vehicle make at least one pass near area landmarks before heading for landing at LAX. Final delivery of the vehicle to the California Science Center will be by land. The Shuttle's girth is forcing trees and power poles to be cut and moved, respectively. Some local residents are not pleased with those near-term changes, fearing that loss of trees will affect their property values, but the Science Center says it has a plan to address that. The Center will be paying for the move and the cutting down of trees. But its spokespeople have said the Center will be planting two new trees for each one cut.