We got our own last look at Endeavour when she flew over NASA Ames a few weeks ago. Her final move, however, was through the streets of Los Angeles to the California Science Center, and the Los Angeles Times was there to create this beautiful timelapse video of the journey.
On Friday, the space shuttle Endeavour made one last flight aboard the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, flying from Edwards Air Force Base and making a tour of California before landing in Los Angeles en route to her final resting place at the California Science Center. DVICE was at NASA's Ames Research Center taking pictures of the flyby, and we've also picked out a few of our favorite images from elsewhere along Endeavour's journey.
After months of preparation, Space Shuttle Enterprise is ready at last for its public debut at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. It all starts tomorrow, June 19, and we went over to get a sneak preview of the now decommissioned Enterprise. You already saw the glam shots of Enterprise flying into New York on the Boeing 747. Now, here's what it looks like retired and happy.
NASA's space shuttles are usually busy doing something cool for photographers. (Even in retirement, they know how to put on a show.) This picture, though, is cool in a very weird way: Space Shuttle Explorer crossing the Gulf of Mexico. Never heard of Explorer? We forgive you — it's a secret shuttle.
Imagine this food truck orbiting your office building at lunchtime, looking for a place to dock and to dispense rocket fuel. Our giggling could go on and on but let's bring this down to Earth: the owners of this fully functioning Space Shuttle food truck have put the vehicle on eBay and it can be yours for $150,000.
Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when you're putting an old friend to rest. We've seen photos of the Enterprise flying into New York City for its final rest at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum and now there's a time-lapse video of it getting detached from the giant Boeing 747 Carrier Aircraft.
While the Enterprise may be a space shuttle only in name — it's not actually capable of spaceflight — it was the prototype craft that made the rest of NASA's shuttle fleet possible. Even without the engines to get to orbit or the heat shields to survive the journey, Enterprise completed a series of crucial Approach and Landing Tests. The whole point of the shuttle program was that it would provide what no other space agency had before it: a reusable spacecraft to ferry humans to and from orbit. If we could launch a shuttle up like a rocket, Enterprise proved we could land one like a plane.
Space Shuttle Discovery, the eldest of NASA's surviving space-worthy orbiters, helped build the ISS and carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. It was brought into service after the tragedies that claimed Challenger and Columbia, and went on to complete 39 missions during which it logged 365 days in space, 5,830 orbits around the Earth and 148,221,675 miles traveled. Discovery completed its final mission on March 9, after STS-133. Below, Discovery goes for one last victory lap before being consigned to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. You'll see Discovery mated to its 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, buzz a few monuments in the nation's capital and finally give travelers at Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C. one of the coolest photo ops ever. It's all down below.
The Space Shuttle program might be long over, but the spacecraft still needed to be readied for retirement. They need to be cleaned of toxic space goo, have their main engines replaced with replicas and have all types of technical folk poke at them to keep them from flying off into space in the middle of the night. We've already showed you the 21 critical steps to getting a space shuttle ready for launch, now follow the shuttle through to see how it's decommissioned and carted off to museums across the U.S. for a hard-earned rest.
Videos of space shuttles launches are pretty much in a genre of their own. This particular video has a leg up, however: it's from footage collected from an HD camera mounted on the shuttle's Solid Rocket Booster, and features sound mixed by Lucas's own Skywalker Sound.