Space Shuttle Endeavour Makes its Final Landing
The space shuttle Endeavour said goodbye to the sky on Friday, flying over California in one last airborne victory lap before retiring to a science museum in Los Angeles.
Bolted on top of a modified 747 jet, the shuttle set out at 8:17 a.m. this morning from Edwards Air Force Base, flying up to San Francisco and then heading south to land at LAX.
Thousands of people jammed rooftop buildings and streets, cheering, waving and taking photos as the Endeavour took its last flight. When it finally touched down around 1:00 p.m., it was greeted by more than 5,000 spectators who gathered on a bluff overlooking the airport.
It marked the final airborne journey for any of NASA's three surviving shuttles - the fleet was retired last year after finishing the U.S. portion of the $100 billion International Space Station, a permanently staffed research complex that will orbit 250 miles above Earth.
"It's a piece of history. It's the closing of an era," Daniela Derderian told CNN. "I remember when the Columbia exploded. This is like the end of an era of man traveling in space, especially with Neil Armstrong just dying."
She brought her two young children to watch the shuttle landing in Los Angeles.
“I got chills,” said another spectator, Dave Atkinson. “This is America at its finest.”
Check out a picture we took as the Endeavor flew over our office in Santa Monica: