Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mission 26: Space Shuttle Endeavour Returns Home

Someday, when Alex and Serene are much older they will be annoyed by the stories their parents told them about the things they did when they were small children. Alex scaled the Great Wall of China and Serene basked in the beauty of the Bosphorus. They'll never remember it. They won't care. And, as parents we'll be annoyed that after we worked so hard to make sure they were happy that now they don't even want to hear the details -- again!

The story of the Space Shuttle Endeavour returning to Los Angeles in October 2012 riding on the back of a specially designed 747, flanked by two military fighter jets, landing at Los Angeles International Airport and then riding on a flatbed truck through the streets of Los Angeles before arriving at its final home at the California Science Center will be one of those annoying stories from their youth.

But, Mommy and Papi are the space shuttle's generation. We grew up when shuttling astronauts space still felt like science fiction. We watched in awe as the rockets soar to the heavens -- and then returned home. We giggled with the astronauts bounced around the Space Station without gravity to hold them down. And, we cried when they exploded and the crews of men and women were lost. (I will always remember where I was when I heard the news of the Challenger disaster.) The space shuttle program stretched our imaginations further than we could have ever dreamed. And now to have lived through its birth -- and its retirement -- is both bitter and sweet. The next generation of space travelers will entice the imaginations of my children. In the meantime, the California Science Center in Los Angeles is the final resting spot for the Endeavour Shuttle. Originally constructed in the city of angels, it has returned home on its final mission # 26. The exhibit chronicles the shuttle program, honors the crews that flew so far, features a film of the return of Endeavour to Los Angeles and brings visitors up close to the shuttle.
Flying above Jet Propulsion Laboratory flanked by fighter jets.

Landing at LAX.

Landed at LAX; pilots hoist American Flag.

Mission 26: Heading Home

Endeavor flies above NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Endeavour hitches aride atop 747 aircraft.

Serene searches for Endeavor.

Permanent Home for Space Shuttle Endeavor.
Parked at Los Angeles landmark "Randy's Donuts" en route to California Science Center.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour is display at the California Science Center.

Shuttle's massive engines.