In three weeks, space shuttle Endeavour will depart NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida on her final flight – piggybacking atop a modified NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) on a one-way trip to Los Angeles, CA. Her transition and retirement processing work is now complete, and Endeavour currently waits for a September 17 departure date inside KSC’s massive Vehicle Assembly Building. The next time OV-105 (Endeavour’s official NASA designation) moves, it will be to the Shuttle Landing Facility for mating to the 747, a process which usually takes two days to complete.
The ferry flight will take three days to make the cross-country trip from Florida to southern California. Details of the flight path over the Los Angeles area will not be released until days before the departure, but it is expected that Endeavour will announce her arrival with a series of dramatic fly-overs such as was seen when Discovery and Enterprise arrived at their new homes in Washington D.C. and New York City earlier this year.
After arriving at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on September 20, NASA engineers will remove the 170,000 pound shuttle using cranes and a giant sling to place the orbiter on a NASA ground transport. Endeavour will then take refuge inside a United Airlines hangar while final preparations for its two-day, 12 mile trek from LAX to the California Science Center (CSC) are complete. Endeavour will begin the slow, carefully choreographed move from LAX to the CSC on Friday, October 12.
The following images show Endeavour in her final days with NASA, stored in the same building where she was prepared to launch on 25 missions, waiting for her September 17 departure.
All Photos Credit: Mike Killian / Zero-G News and AmericaSpace.