When one wants to make an impression through their vehicle, adding new rims to the car, called ‘spinners’ to make sure that the proper impression is given. In the case of Endeavour, the men and women who have taken care of her since she first flew in 1992 decided to honor the orbiter’s new destination – L.A.
When NASA rolled out Endeavour from Orbiter Processing Facility 2 (OPF-2 ) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida a few weeks ago she was sporting custom-made (and fully operational) shuttle spinners mounted on the inside of her huge ‘Michelin 44.5” Air Brand Tire’ left main gear.
This was more than just a nod to popular culture however, there are five orbiter silhouettes on the rims – one for each of NASA’s space-worthy shuttles - Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis.
The spinner creation is not ‘ferry flight worthy’ as it was made out of cardboard and silver tape and has been signed by the flight crew of STS-135. The spinner has been removed and Endeavour is now ready for her cross country ferry flight to California. Endeavour will be the last shuttle to fly out of KSC.
This will only leave Atlantis at KSC, which will take a twelve hour ‘road trip’ to the Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex in November. This will mark the first time in over thirty years that there will be no shuttles on NASA property.