Endeavour Fly Out
19 September 2012 - Kennedy Space Center
Page One of Four

Even though it was Endeavour's day, a remembrance placard reminded visitors of Neil Armstrong's recent passing. Endeavour was scheduled to leave at 7:15 a.m. and things were a bit iffy with the weather as light rain showers passed through in a reminder that the Fly Out had been canceled already twice before due to bad weather.

The Fly Out is the start of Endeavour's three day journey across the United States to reach its permanent retirement home as an exhibit at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

From NASA, Endeavour by the Numbers
- Spent a total of 299 days in space during 25 flights.
Orbited the Earth 4,671 times.
- Logged 123 million miles, enough to make 247 roundtrips to the Moon.

I was lucky to get the opportunity to witness the final departure of Endeavour from the midfield of the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at Kennedy Space Center---as I had with Discovery's fly out in April 2012. What had been a packed scene in April at the bus boarding area for Discovery was a very quiet and strangely subdued experience for Endeavour.
The line up of parked buses that had brought the visitors to the SLF. A lot of the buses, especially the later ones, were mostly empty with only a few passengers onboard. The viewing area at the SLF did not seem as crowded as it had been for Discovery's fly out.
The C-9 Pathfinder aircraft started the action for the day as it lifted off into a cloudy, dark sky just prior to sunrise. The C-9 Pathfinder will fly 50-100 miles ahead of the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) with Endeavour on board to report well in advance of any turbulence or other hazards that the SCA will need to avoid.
The 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft taxis from the south end of the runway, tall enough to have Endeavour seemingly floating along above the treetops in the gray morning light. Go to Page Two of Four > > >
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