Endeavour’s final voyage

By Phil Plait | October 20, 2012 7:00 am

The Space Shuttle Orbiter Endeavour made its way from LAX to the California Science Center a few days ago. A huge throng of people showed up to watch and take pictures. Among them was Matthew Givot and his team, who took many thousands of pictures, and then created a stunning and moving time lapse tribute to NASA’s youngest and now-retired Orbiter.

That was wonderful. As I’ve written several times, my feelings about the Shuttle program are mixed. But even as this amazing machine is put on display, Earthbound forever more, I’m hopeful about American space flight. We stand on the cusp of the future, and it won’t be long before we make that next giant leap.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, NASA, Piece of mind, Space

Comments (22)

  1. Chris

    It really is a thing of beauty.

  2. Ray

    Video is blocked.

  3. I saw video ok. Ray – home or work computer?

  4. stillwaggon

    Despite my longtime support of the space program, I thought it regrettable that they cut down 400 trees to make room along the route of the last trip.

  5. Chris

    Even in time lapse it’s still moving pretty slow!

    @4 stillwaggon
    I didn’t like that part about the trees either, although I believe they said they will replant every tree they cut down.

  6. Bigfoot

    Phil, please check out the timelapse of the same journey posted on the LA Times website. I sent you a link to it at your TBA gmail account a couple of days ago, and I highly recommend it.

    It is every bit as artfully done as the great timelapse you pointed to here, but more closely focuses on some of the tight maneuvering and portrays a slightly more intimate picture of the shuttle’s movements.

  7. Bigfoot: Thanks, I actually saw that video when it came out, but they didn’t allow embedding. I oppose that sort of thing – it makes it less likely people will see the video, and is selfish – so I didn’t link to it!

  8. This video now says that it’s blocking this domain.

    “Sorry. The creator of this video has not given you permission to embed it on this domain. This is a Vimeo Plus feature.”

  9. oldebabe

    Same for me as 9. above…

  10. oldebabe

    Same for me as 9. above… whoops… I’ve got it now. TXS.

  11. Bigfoot

    Ahh, that explains it — I thought this video was conspicuous by its omission here. Too bad the LA Times has such a counterproductive policy because it’s such a beautifully done piece, and policies like that don’t serve any positive purpose.

    Anyway, thanks for the great stuff you constantly post here, and sorry this one didn’t work out.

  12. It wasn’t the LA Times blocking their video. It was Vimeo.

  13. Diederick

    They should have send one of them into space.

  14. AstronomyGuy

    As to the trees being cut down. It was somewhat controversial, but overall I believe most people in L.A. were okay with it since they promised to plant back twice as many as were cut down.
    Both videos very nicely done.

  15. Larry

    I assume that the shuttle was off-loaded from the mover using some sort of cradle and pneumatic or hydraulic jacks which lifted the cradle allowing the mover to be rolled out. Once clear of the mover, the shuttle could then be lowered into its final resting position.

    Are there any videos (or pictures) of that operation to anybody’s knowledge?

  16. Glidingpig

    I just went to the California Science Center today, they are closing up the last side of the building the shuttle is in, but there is still a 20′ or so gap you can see the butt end of it through. That thing is bigger than I expected.

    I am surprised the CSS doesn’t charge for admission too. The IMAX and some of the events inside cost though. My brothers kids loved it, the huge fish tank is pretty nice.

  17. James

    I’ve never been a fan of the Shuttle in the first place, but I really wish that they could have retired them in a more practical way – as a shuttle-C configuration, or in permenant orbit as an extension to the ISS or an independant space station. Drive it on remote as a sattalite recovery vehicle. I’m sure there are other things you can do.

  18. Jon

    I find that the last chapter of the Shuttle Program has been written. To see the ferry flights to bring Discovery, Enterprise and now Endeavour, to their final places heartwarming and yet still sad. As a kid in 4th Grade, I remember hearing about Challenger’s destruction 73 seconds into flight. In 7th Grade, I participated in the OV-105 naming… I submitted the name “Frontier”, to represent “The Final Frontier” as mentioned in Star Trek. I followed the construction of Endeavour that was chronicalled in Discovery/Odyssey magazines, and then in the newspapers for the prepping of the maiden flight, before the historic, record setting flight. The Shuttle Program is all I know, was born after the end of the Apollo Program. Orion & Dragon is the next step, America needs to quit procrastinating and take the step.

    This was a great video!

  19. We stand on the cusp of the future, and it won’t be long before we make that next giant leap.

    I so hope you are right BA.

    But I fear it will be a very long time before we see the likes of the Space Shuttles again.

    After the Saturn-Apollo rockets and spacecraft, the Space Shuttles were my second favourite and, I think, second most impressive ever of space craft. Reusable spaceplanes capable of carrying seven people and heavy loads like space telescopes and spaceprobes and space station components into orbit. I think we’ll only realise how good they were now they’re gone.

    Great clip but very bittersweet.

    @ 20. Jon :

    To see the ferry flights to bring Discovery, Enterprise and now Endeavour, to their final places

    Have you forgotten the Atlantis orbiter or has (will) it not (yet?) been ferried home? Wonder what they’re doing with the left over Solid Rocket Boosters and if any of them and /or External tanks will be gracing the Cape Canaveral lawns as ornaments?


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