Another “final” shuttle moment occurred this morning at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida when Atlantis and Endeavour met face-to-face one last time. The rare photo-op gave workers and journalists one final opportunity to see two orbiters together, something that will never happen again.
Atlantis has been in storage inside NASA’s massive Vehicle Assembly Building for the past several weeks, allowing technicians to focus on preparing Endeavour for its ferry flight to California in September. With Endeavour’s retirement transition processing now complete, the shuttles switched locations to allow technicians to finish their work on Atlantis.
Endeavour is scheduled to leave Kennedy Space Center on September 17, flying to Los Angeles on a three-day flight atop a modified NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. The flight is, however, just the beginning of Endeavour’s final journey. In October, the orbiter will be transported through the city streets of LA to her new home at the California Science Center, a move that is expected to take two days to complete.
Atlantis will continue preparations for public display inside the Orbiter Processing Facility, and is expected to be transported to the nearby Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on November 2. Atlantis’ brand new $100 million exhibit is still being constructed, and the public grand opening is not expected to occur until the summer of 2013.