No Grand Fly Out for Shuttle Endeavour

The operators of the Cocoa Beach Air Show had hoped to give space shuttle Endeavour a send off which could have looked something like this. This however, will not be happening. Image Credit: Cocoa Beach Air Show

Cocoa Beach, FL – Florida’s Space Coast won’t get the chance for a proper goodbye to Space Shuttle Endeavour during a final flyover at the Cocoa Beach Air Show as so many had hoped, leaving many disappointed and angry that the California Science Center is needlessly depriving the community out of millions of dollars in economic impact.

The Cocoa Beach Air Show, which normally occurs in late October, was moved to September upon the request of local leaders when informed by NASA that the targeted fly-out date for Endeavour was September 20th. The annual show draws over 100,000 people from the surrounding communities and across the state of Florida, including many space workers and their families from Kennedy Space Center.

“It’s disheartening news,” said Cocoa Beach Air Show producer Bryan Lilley. “We took a chance and moved the show up to the weekend of September 22-23 to line up with Endeavour’s targeted fly-out date. Unfortunately the California Science Center is unwilling to work with us. Instead, they appear unconcerned it will just sit in a hangar at LAX for an extra week.”

Even members of Florida’s Congressional Delegation reached out to both NASA and the California Science Center CEO Jeff Rudolph to ask if they would work with the Space Coast to move the flight a few days to coincide with the Cocoa Beach Air Show. This fly out of the shuttle could double or even triple the weekend visitor count, generating millions of dollars in economic impact for the Space Coast at a time when it is so desperately needed. No less important, it would also allow space workers, their families and Endeavour’s hometown community to give a proper farewell to the last shuttle that will ever fly. But Rudolph responded with a resounding NO, citing excuses that have nothing to do with Endeavour’s actual arrival date at LAX.

“The reasons stated in Rudolph’s letter for why they can’t allow Florida to reap this tremendous financial and emotional opportunity do not align with the known logistical requirements. It doesn’t make sense” said Lilley. “Further, the departure date has been moved in the wrong direction, three days earlier to Monday, September 17th so the Shuttle can make stops in Houston and Dryden and still make the Science Center’s preferred arrival date.”

According to sources inside United Space Alliance who process the shuttle, only a week is required to perform the work necessary to prepare Endeavour for its trip to the Science Center once it arrives at LAX. There are 22 days from the date Endeavour is scheduled to arrive until it is to be transported overland to the Science Center on October 12th.

“Flying the Shuttle out at 7:30 AM on a Monday will bring a few people from around the county,” said Tom Williamson, President of the Cocoa Beach Hotel Association. “Flying it out during the Cocoa Beach Air Show will bring many thousands from around the country, to a Space Coast still reeling from the retirement of the shuttle program.”

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  1. This is so ridiculous, you think they would host an airshow at 6 in the morning? They have to take off at sunrise to reach their destination with contingency time intact. You think NASA or the CSC wants fighter jets getting near the shuttle? And it is their shuttle, THEY are paying for it, they can do as they wish.

    This website has become pretty ridiculous with its posts. I’m sure if Houston won the shuttle and denied the airshow their flyover, this would not have been posted. Only because it is California.

    • AmericaSpace is based out of Texas, so, no, had Houston was in the same situation it would have also been posted. The fact that Endeavour is going to CA has no bearing in whether or not this is posted for our viewers. This is a press release from Cocoa Beach Airshow PR, not an op-ed feature, any “ridiculousness” should be directed to Airshow staff, as this is being published by several other outlets as well.

  2. Wait a minute, sport. That shuttle belongs to the American people. WE paid for it. And we people here in Cocoa Beach put our blood, sweat and tears all on the line for it.
    Also it is a matter of routine for the Shuttle/747 combination to fly formation with one or more of the F-5 chase planes, so that is not an issue.
    It would make a tremendous gesture of respect for them to make a pass down the beach on their way to Cali. If they wanted to stop in Houston overnight, that would be no problem either.

    • I have to agree with this post. I think Space Coast residents would really appreciate a chance to say their good-bye’s.

      California Science Center CEO Jeff Rudolph’s refusal to even try to work with Nelson and others to make a fly-by possible is ill-mannered.

  3. What? Space Coast residents will have that chance, just as last time, as it flies by the beaches etc and puts on its own airshow for everyone. It just is not at the time of the other air show.

    And no, the transfers to the museums are paid for by the museums, not us.

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