The Space Shuttle Endeavour is coming Friday. Call out the food trucks. Let the flyover parties begin!
After weather delayed Endeavour’s departure from Florida for two days, NASA gave the go-ahead for a Wednesday take-off at dawn, the first leg of the highly anticipated farewell tour that has crowds waiting for a glimpse from Mississippi to Houston to California.
The last space shuttle, securely piggybacked onto a modified Boeing 747 jet, will fly low over the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Area and the state Capitol building, at 1,500 feet.
“The five-story space shuttle will be hard to miss from the observatory deck at Chabot,” mused Melissa Rosengard, who put out an word Tuesday that the Chabot Space & Science Museum in the Oakland Hills was throwing a pajamas-optional flyover party, beginning at 8 a.m. Friday.
Northern California’s turn comes Friday when Endeavour is scheduled to take off from Edwards Air Force Base, head up to Sacramento, cruising by landmarks, flying over the East Bay about 8:30 a.m. From there, it’s scheduled to head over San Francisco, and a tribute cruise 9-9:30 a.m. over Moffett Field and NASA Ames, where so much of the important space shuttle work was performed.
Then, it’s on to L.A., where 10:30 a.m. flyovers are planned—where else?—over Disneyland, among several locations. All in a morning's work.
Endeavour will become a land-bound exhibit in the California Science Center in Los Angeles’ Exposition Park, the latest of the space shuttles to transition to civilian life, on museum duty. Not six months ago, Space Shuttle Discovery thrilled Washington D.C. with its April flyover all over restricted air space before settling in as an exhibit of the National Air and Space Museum.
Tuesday, NASA sent out suggested viewing locations—for maximum photo op possibilities— ranging from the State Capitol in Sacramento, the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, Chabot Space and Science Center, Exploratorium, Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Chabot touted its Oakland Hills vantage point, its activities on site, its experts who will be available to explain all (museum admission fees apply).
But really, wherever you are, try to look up on Friday morning, from the roof of a parking garage, or out in the park.
And wave, even if they can't see you. You'll be glad you did.