By Kate Mather, Los Angeles Times –
LOS ANGELES — Officials have revealed some details of space shuttle Endeavour’s aerial tour of California, a final flight that is to include low-level passes over the state Capitol, San Francisco and several Los Angeles landmarks.
Riding piggyback on a modified 747 aircraft, the retired shuttle will depart California’s Edwards Air Force Base about 7:15 a.m. PDT Friday and will fly low over Palmdale, Lancaster, Rosamond and Mojave before heading north to Sacramento, NASA officials said.
There, Endeavour will fly over the Capitol and turn to San Francisco, where those hoping to catch a glimpse of the shuttle are advised to watch from one of several Bay Area museums, including the Chabot Space and Science Center, the Exploratorium, the Bay Area Discovery Museum, the Lawrence Hall of Science and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Once the shuttle reaches the Los Angeles area about 10:30 a.m., the orbiter will be carried over landmarks including the Getty Center, the Griffith Observatory, Malibu and Disneyland before landing at Los Angeles International Airport. It will also fly over the California Science Center in Exposition Park, its new permanent home.
Additional details are expected to be released Wednesday.
Originally scheduled to depart Kennedy Space Center early Monday, the orbiter was twice delayed by a threat of thunderstorms between Florida and Houston, the first leg of its cross-country trip to Los Angeles. The forecast has cleared up in the coming days, and officials are continuing to proceed toward the Wednesday departure, scheduled for 7:15 a.m. EDT, NASA said.
Endeavour will spend Wednesday night in Houston and reach Edwards Air Force Base Thursday afternoon, officials said. It is scheduled to land at LAX at 11 a.m. PDT Friday, a day later than originally planned.
Officials said that although the time frame has been pushed back, the shuttle will be able to make its final journey as originally planned — a farewell tour that also is to include several low-level flyovers of NASA sites across the United States.