Friday, October 12, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavour

TV coverage of the Endeavour's trek home

The phone rang at 6AM. It was Karen. We had briefly discussed, last night, the possibility of going to see the space shuttle Endeavour as it left LAX on its final trek to the California Science Center. But then I went to bed. Karen, however, lives within blocks of the airport’s runways and so got up at 2AM to chase the shuttle. She called at 6:00 to tell me that it was parked in a Westchester shopping center and, since the crowds were still relatively small, now would be a good time to see it.

Shuttle on the move (thanks Karen!)

Wing shot

Tail view

In case you don’t know, the Science Center was one of many agencies that vied to house Endeavour after it retired. The shuttle famously flew into town, September 21, on the back of a 747 airplane and buzzed over several Los Angeles landmarks before landing at LAX. For the next two days, Endeavour will slowly make its way to its final destination in Exposition Park.

We had missed the fly-over because we were in Kansas City—I was not about to miss the shuttle driving through the streets of L.A. So, even though I was still half-asleep, I hung-up the phone, threw on yesterday’s clothes, brushed my teeth, and hopped into the car, heading south on Sepulveda. Following Karen’s directions, I turned left on 83rd and entered a residential neighborhood. Others obviously had the same idea, so I took the first parking spot I could find. I then quietly walked four blocks, alongside several other early-risers. We all had our cameras at the ready.

The shuttle is reportedly five stories tall—I kept my eyes peeled. Then suddenly I saw something rather incongruous.

“There’s the tail!” I whispered to myself, as it peaked above the surrounding buildings.

A good crowd for 6:20AM!

Indeed, the Endeavour was parked across the street from our new favorite breakfast joint, the Coffee Company, in the exact same lot we had parked last Sunday morning! I snapped a bunch of photos and then left because I had an 8:45AM dental appointment downtown. 

I was sorry Tim wasn’t with me, but maybe we’ll get to see it together tomorrow.

I was home by 6:45AM.

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