Reed Saxon, Associated Press
Rather than roaring to space on an elevator of flame, the shuttle Endeavour's final flight Friday was a leisurely, low-altitude journey past the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and Hollywood sign as well as other California landmarks.
The workhorse rode piggyback atop a Boeing 747 to its home state and ultimately landed at Los Angeles International Airport.
NASA's shuttle fleet, which retired last year after three decades of flight, was assembled in Palmdale, Calif., near Edwards Air Force Base. The military outpost 100 miles north of Los Angeles served as the original shuttle landing strip and remained a backup site in case of stormy weather at Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Endeavour's final airborne journey started with takeoff from Edwards and a northern heading to swoop low over Sacramento before flying by San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz prison.
The flight then turned south for a fly-by at West Coast space port Vandenberg Air Force Base. Other sites where people gathered to gawk — and shoot photos and video — included Malibu, Santa Monica, the Getty Center, Griffith Observatory, downtown Los Angeles and the Queen Mary, a transportation relic enshrined in Long Beach.
Endeavour later will be hauled 12 miles on city streets to its home at the California Science Center.
- Pope in blistering critique of Vatican...
- NYPD: Cop ambush killer told passers-by to watch
- 9 films advance in Oscars shortlist for best...
- The Associated Press' top 10 movies of the year
- 10 years on, where did all the tsunami debris...
- Spain hands out $3B in planet's biggest lottery
- 'Hobbit' goes out on top with $90.6 million...
- Police: Fugitive killed Florida officer
- Vermont governor abandons single-payer... 33
- Forget Santa Claus, Virginia. Was there... 19
- Police boss: NYC cops 'quite simply,... 17
- A post-election flurry: Obama tests his... 16
- NYPD: Cop ambush killer told passers-by... 13
- Going it alone, Obama rocked the boat... 11
- Utah mourners for Pakistani children... 8
- Obama declares 2014 'a breakthrough... 7