Space Shuttle Endeavour Lands in Los Angeles

After traveling more than 122 million miles in space, the retired shuttle spent its final flying minutes soaring through the the air over Los Angeles. See photos of Endeavour's landing and fly over in Los Angeles here.

After more than 122 million miles in space and 25 completed missions, the retired space shuttle Endeavour spent its final moments in the air soaring above Los Angeles before touching down for the last time Friday.

Endeavour landed at LAX just before 1 p.m. on top of the massive Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, who served as a mission specialist on Endeavour’s final journey into space in May 2011, told Patch he was filled with mixed emotions about the shuttle’s final flight over Los Angeles.  

"This is the culmination of Endeavour’s whole career… It is a very rich experience because it is such a multitude of feelings,” said Fincke, who described Endeavour as a trusted friend. “Happy, sad, nervous, depressed… I don’t know, you think of just about every emotion at once. That is rich.”

Before touching down at LAX, thousands gathered around the Southland to witness history as Endeavour was flown on a low-altitude farewell tour of the region's landmarks.

Endeavour passed over the Santa Monica Pier twice, delighting the crowds of people who gathered to take photos and catch a glimpse of the space shuttle.

Friday’s landing was also a special experience for the California Science Center, which takes ownership of the shuttle from NASA.

“It is incredibly emotional… It is ours now and it is such an amazing feeling,” said California Science Center President Jeffery Rudolph as he stood on the tarmac at LAX. “This is a true international treasure and it is our responsibility to take care of it.”

While Friday’s flyover and landing marked the end of one chapter for Endeavour, another unique chapter will begin on October 12 when the shuttle is slowly towed 12 miles through city streets to its new home at the California Science Center.

Until then, Endeavour will be held at a United Airlines hangar at LAX to prepare it for its last few miles of travel. The shuttle is expected to go on exhibit for public viewing at the science center Oct. 30.

“It is the end of one long journey and dream and the beginning of another,” said Rudolph.

Debbie Gantz Miles September 21, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Quite spectacular! !!
jacky and nick brown September 21, 2012 at 08:14 PM
We just watched it from the uk on tv. Fantastic for LA.
Craig Faustus Buck September 21, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Lisa, the closest they got was when they overflew the GP Observatory and gave a brief glimpse to Studio City and Burbank as they circled back into Hollywood.
Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin September 21, 2012 at 08:37 PM
I saw it from a parking lot in Inglewood. People were taking photos, tearing up a bit, and smiling. It was a nice community experience.
Laurie September 21, 2012 at 08:39 PM
I was walking by Clifton middle school , looked up and there it was.....goosebumps!
Lisa September 21, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Lt. Uhura spoke at the hangar ceremony. The wind blew her notes off the podium. As they were retrieved and she was trying to organize her notes she hummed the Star Trek theme. LOL
Julie Dole September 21, 2012 at 09:14 PM
That was great! How fun to watch it come in low over the ocean, fly right over us - and then show up a second time ten minutes later to do it again! I think they didn't want to land, since it would be the Endeavor's last minutes in the air, forever...
Lisa September 21, 2012 at 09:16 PM
The news said it was ahead of schedule so they were doing some extra flyover's.
Julie Dole September 21, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Yes I think they did - it was in their published flight path... and that was the direction they left in from Venice Beach the second time, for sure!
South Bay by Jackie September 21, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Great shots, John! I crashed a viewing party at an office building right across the street from LAX and had a bird's eye view! Amazing!
John B. Greet September 21, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Great photos and videos all around. It makes me a little sad, though, to think that we are no longer a direct player (let alone the world's leader) in manned space flight and exploration. This is truly the end of a very significant era for our nation. Perhaps one day we will go to mars. I really think we should.
Karen Pleines September 21, 2012 at 10:25 PM
I had a perfect view atop a hill in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills as the Endeavour came into the valley from the east and then turned south over Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign. It was impressive.
Dissapointed with Humanity September 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Awesome!!! The students and the teachers at a school near Griffith Park were going bonkers!! It was incredible to see such a large plane about 1500 feet from the ground.
30secondstomars September 21, 2012 at 11:24 PM
We had a birds eye view from the top of mulholland, you could hear our cheering thruout the canyons. It was a IMPRESSIVE sight...just wish more of the valley could of experienced seeing it. We're second rate as usual!!!
Joseph M Carl September 21, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Awesome Pics...Beautiful LA backdrop!
DR. Tim Scully September 21, 2012 at 11:34 PM
My wife and I visited four observation locations before selecting the best for her picture taking. What struck me was how young and old, legals and illegals were at parks and street corners taking in the marvel. Each beamed with Pride for our accomplishments and for our country.
Tim Tritch September 21, 2012 at 11:46 PM
This afternoon our family gathered at our house on Dahlia Dr. to spread some of our brothers ashes around the tree that he planted in 1983, on the hill in our backyard. As we were right in the middle of the prayer we were saying the sound of the 747 could be heard, and there it was, about half the way to Pasadena, clear as day. Nice little bonus to for all of us to share together.
Johnny Utah September 22, 2012 at 01:09 AM
It wasn't a good view in Huntington Beach, but I got to see it after all!
Ali September 22, 2012 at 01:25 AM
It flew over my apartment building too!
JACK KARMONA September 22, 2012 at 02:27 AM
this was great watching Endeavor flying over Lax I also was listening to their plane on my radio scanner it was AMAZING
maya james September 22, 2012 at 05:49 AM
JPL Flyover: Odyssey Charter School had quite the show with the shuttle flying directly over the field to the squeals of delight from the entire student body. Students were waving and jumping up and down with excitement as the underbelly of the 747 blocked out the shuttle...but the students let out a second squeal of awe when the 747 banked and the whole shuttle became visible, sending a ripple of pride through the crowd and the students applauded as the shuttle disappeared.
Herb Kirkstreet September 22, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Definitely the most overated and overhyped event ever in LA. You all need to watch less TV news and decide for yourself what's important.
Diane D September 22, 2012 at 02:23 PM
I was at LAX waiting to board my flight so got a perfect glimpse as it went by. Then saw it a second time from the plane. Our flight was delayed by about 20 minutes but no one minded at all.
andy k. liberman September 22, 2012 at 02:38 PM
...tens of healthy trees cut down on LA streets just to transport this thing to rest for observing...what a waste of great trees...
Niles Akbar September 22, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Let's not invite grumpy no-fun Herb to the next party!
Barbara Jean Carey September 22, 2012 at 03:16 PM
All the children at OLM were outside their classrooms standing on top of a hill screaming and applauding as it came by. At that moment I was so clear on how life really is a journey that goes by so quickly and we need to enjoy and be grateful for every moment.
Tim Tritch September 22, 2012 at 06:10 PM
I've got an idea Andy, why don't you go plant a tree somewhere. The tree in my family backyard was planted by my departed younger brother in 1983 as part of the "Plant One Million Trees In LA" project for the '48 Olympics. It was a two inch sapling the day it was planted. Today that tree is almost 50 feet tall and visible to anyone driving along Hill Dr. Trees are one of our most renewable rescources.
Paul September 22, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Neat! I love seeing the shuttle!
Holly Hale September 22, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Tim's idea is a good one. I hope you are as equally upset by the trees that are slaughtered to build new housing developments (that sit empty in our sour economy) or the destruction of the natural habitat for the bobcats, bears and mtn. lions who come down to visit. The few trees cut down for a TRULY HISTORIC event pale in comparison.
Steve September 23, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Andy, when I see trees fly into space and orbit the earth for a total of 23 million miles, then I will agree with you... But until then, get over it, they will grow back.


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