NASA’s 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft arrived at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida earlier this afternoon after a 6-hour cross-country flight from Edwards Air Force Base in southern California. The modified Boeing 747 known as NASA 905, NASA’s original Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, is in Florida this week to transport the space shuttle Endeavour to its new home in Los Angeles.
The now retired Endeavour, affectionately referred to as the baby of the NASA’s shuttle fleet, will be mounted atop the enormous SCA this coming weekend in preparation for its ferry flight Monday, September 17, to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Endeavour will make one final journey a few weeks after landing, one which will take the orbiter through the streets of Los Angeles to her final destination as a permanent museum piece at the California Science Center in Exposition Park.
(Click HERE to read about Endeavour’s planned transport through Los Angeles from LAX to the California Science Center)
The cross-country flight is expected to take three days, with low-altitude flyovers planned for various locations along the way. The SCA, with Endeavour riding piggyback, will make several passes up and down Florida’s Space Coast to give residents a final opportunity to say goodbye before heading west. Low flyovers of NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans will be conducted before the aircraft arrives in the skies over Texas later that day. The SCA will then descend to 1,500 feet for another series of low flyovers above Houston, Clear Lake, and Galveston before landing at Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where the pair will remain for the rest of September 17 and all day September 18.
Endeavour’s final flight picks up again at sunrise on Wednesday, September 19, with a stop planned at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso to refuel before continuing on its westward journey across the southern United States. Another series of low-level flyovers are planned for White Sands Test Facility near Las Cruces, New Mexico, and NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California, where the aircraft will land before embarking on the final leg of its journey to Los Angeles.
Departing Dryden one final time on the morning of September 20, the SCA with Endeavour will head north towards the Bay Area and perform low-level flyovers of NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field and various landmarks over San Francisco and Sacramento before heading south towards Los Angeles. The pair will make a final series of low flyovers in the skies above LA to allow the “City of Angels” to welcome Endeavour to its new home before landing at LAX around 11:00 a.m. PDT.