NASA confirms Endeavour's last ride

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Space Shuttle Endeavour at launch pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, in 2008 file photo

Space Shuttle Endeavour at launch pad 39A, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, in 2008 file photo. (AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – After reviewing weather forecasts between Florida and the West Coast, NASA officials confirmed today that the space shuttle Endeavour will take off aboard a modified Boeing 747 tomorrow morning from Kennedy Space Center en route to Los Angeles.

NASA experts conducted a weather briefing this morning and determined the cold front that forced a two-day delay in the shuttle’s departure would be a safe distance from the flight path, although a final weather review will be made at 2 a.m. California time Wednesday.

According to NASA, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft — on which Endeavour is mounted — will back out of its hangar at Kennedy Space Center at 1 a.m. California time Wednesday, with takeoff scheduled for 4:15 a.m. PDT.

“Following takeoff, the SCA will head south along the coast and turn back north above the Indian River for one final low pass along Florida’s Space Coast,” according to an online update from Kennedy Space Center. “It will pass over Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Kennedy, the Kenndy Space Center Visitor Complex and Patrick Air Force Base. The cross-country journey is scheduled to end Friday, Sept. 21, with a landing at LAX.”

The shuttle is expected to land Wednesday night at Ellis Field near Johnson Space Center in Houston, then takeoff at sunrise Thursday morning en route to Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, where it will spend the night.

Endeavour will take off from Dryden Friday morning and make low-level flyovers of San Francisco and Sacramento before circling back south toward Los Angeles International Airport. It is expected to make flyovers of the Southland to give people a view of the shuttle before it arrives at LAX between 11 a.m. and noon.

The shuttle will remain at a United Airlines hangar at LAX until Oct. 12, when it will begin a two-day journey on city streets to the California Science Center at Exposition Park, where it will go on permanent display.

Endeavour made 25 missions into space, spending 299 days in orbit and circling the Earth 4,671 times, traveling nearly 122.9 million miles, according to NASA.

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