This weekend the space shuttle Endeavour is on its way to the California Science Center, getting driven via Overland Transporter along 12 miles of Los Angeles roads at a more-or-less steady 2 mph. Hundreds of onlookers have gathered along the route to catch a glimpse of a real-life spaceship passing by just outside their front doors. Now that’s really not something you see every day!
The move from Los Angeles International Airport, where it landed atop a Boeing 747 on Sept. 1, has been dubbed Mission 26. Endeavour flew 25 missions, traveled 122,883,151 miles and orbited Earth 4,671 times since 1992.
All together, the move is expected to cost about $10 million. The exhibit is set to open Oct. 30.
LA’s NBC affiliate is broadcasting Endeavour’s road trip live here.
(Images via NBC4 LA live video)
The space shuttle Endeavour, mounted atop NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), is seen shortly after takeoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The SCA, a modified 747 jetliner, is flying Endeavour to Los Angeles where it will be placed on public display at the California Science Center. The three-day trip will include flybys of many locations along the planned route, including New Orleans, Houston, Sacramento and San Francisco, as well as stopovers in Houston and Edwards Air Force Base. (Read more here.)
This is the final ferry flight of the Space Shuttle Program era and the last time an orbiter will take to the skies.
Photo credit: (NASA/Stan Jirman) See more images from Endeavour’s cross-country voyage here.
After almost three years of travel across the cold, rusty plains of Mars the last remaining functioning rover on Mars has finally reached her goal: the rim of the giant Endeavour Crater! Congratulations Opportunity and the MER team!
“Our arrival at this destination is a reminder that these rovers have continued far beyond the original three-month mission.”
– John Callas, Mars Exploration Rover project manager
Opportunity left her previous exploration target, the much smaller Victoria Crater, in August 2008. She has since been traversing the Meridiani Plains toward Endeavour, stopping occasionally to study interesting features like shallow craters, rock outcroppings and the odd meteorite before continuing on. She’s traveled 13 miles since August ’08 to get this view from Spirit Point, an area named after her sister rover that has fallen silent.
Long visible only as gradually larger and larger hills on the horizon, Endeavour Crater is now spread out before Opportunity and is all hers to explore!
The space shuttle Endeavour lifted off from Cape Canaveral for the final time on the morning of Monday, May 16 2011, and quickly pierced through the low cloud cover, disappearing from view for many observers on the ground but not for those high above in a NASA weather reconnaissance aircraft! They had quite the view as the shuttle punched through the clouds on its way into space, leaving a trail behind that cast a long shadow in the morning sun. Absolutely beautiful!
See this and more aerial views on Spaceflight Now.
Incredible! It’s a shame sights like this are very soon to be a thing of the past.
In honor of the end of NASA’s shuttle program (with only two flights remaining) CNN videographers have assembled a wonderful montage of the 133 launches over the past 30 years and put them together in the video below. Check it out! (There may be a brief advertisement at the beginning…that’s embedded in the CNN video.)
Warming: you may find yourself experiencing stronger emotions than expected.
As Opportunity wraps up her stay at Santa Maria crater, Stuart Atkinson leaves us with this wonderful “Ansel Adams style” panorama of the crater’s rim and dune-carpeted interior.
“I’m very, very jealous of the people who will one day make a pilgrimage to this very spot, and stand on the jagged, crumbling edge of Santa Maria, beside a monument commemorating Opportunity’s visit, marvelling at the rover’s achievements…”
– Stu Atkinson, The Road to Endeavour
The last fully operating rover on Mars, Opportunity approached Santa Maria around the New Year 2010 and spent the past several months since exploring around its rim. But now it’s time for her to move on, to hit the sands of Meridiani Plains once again in her trek to the massive Endeavour Crater. Not much between Santa Maria and Endeavour besides the low rolling dunes of the Plains, but who knows… there may yet be some hidden treats along the way for her to turn her electronic eyes to.
Only one way to find out…
Godspeed and good luck, Oppy!
Image: NASA / JPL-Caltech / Stuart Atkinson