Friday, September 21, 2012

A Place I Live: Endeavour in the Sky

Today was a fantastic day. Historical really.

It isn’t every day that you can look up into the sky and see a space shuttle flying over you. But today I did. The California Science Center in Los Angeles will be the new home to the space shuttle Endeavour. Embarking on her 26th mission, the shuttle flew from Florida to the California Science Center in Los Angeles today. After hearing that the Endeavour would make a fly over Disneyland we packed the car with water, chairs and our cameras and headed out to find the perfect viewing spot.

We thought Disneyland would be too crowded with others hoping to catch a view of the shuttle so my dad suggested Ross Park and I am glad he did. We set up our chairs under the shade of some pine trees in the outfield of the baseball fields and waited. With about a dozen other excited locals, we waited and then began to get a bit anxious. Did it already fly over? Did we miss it? Via cell phone calls and news reports, we heard that the shuttle had just flown over the Hollywood sign and was traveling toward Orange County.

Two little girls pointed toward the horizon and shouted, “There it is!” At first we didn’t see it because we were looking up into the sky. Endeavour was flying low, so low that it was right there in front of us! It was such an exciting moment to look up and see the space shuttle escorted by two fighter planes. The sight of the Endeavour so close was astonishing.

We snapped some photos and as fast as Endeavour was in our sight, it was gone.

Lucky for us this isn’t the end of Mission 26. Next Endeavour will travel 12 miles through urban Los Angeles from LAX airport to the California Science Center. We’ve seen the city’s preparations on the news from removing trees, electric and light poles and anything else that might get in the way of the shuttle's 78 foot wing span. Fingers crossed that we will be able to see Endeavour during her urban journey a little closer mid October.

Not only was it fabulous to see Endeavour’s last flight, but reminded me of my trip to Kennedy Space Center when I was 7.  I never wanted to be an astronaut because flying F-16s sounded more exciting, but I hope that the dispersal and display of the US space shuttle fleet helps to inspire young dreamers from coast to coast.

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