Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Last Flight of the Endeavour

Posted from Culver City, California at 6:43 pm, September 23rd, 2012

When a three year old sees a rocket, for inexplicable reasons that kid is likely to start screaming, and he will then start running around in circles while also perhaps punching himself in the head due to uncontrollable excitement. As he ages the kid will calm down and learn to control himself, eventually growing into a normal adult who admires rockets but manages to do so in a mature way.

When it comes to spaceships, I never grew out of the three year old stage.*

The shuttle Endeavour is making the LA Science Center its final home, and on Friday it arrived in Los Angeles on top of its 747 carrier plane after touring Sacramento and San Francisco. The flight plan called for the pilots to pass by Venice Beach (as well as many other local landmarks), so I took some time off from work and joined a few hundred people there to watch the final flight of the spaceship. As it turned out, the pilots had free reign to fly anywhere they chose in LA, and they used that freedom to make an unannounced pass over LAX at two hundred feet, Top Gun style, and then turned up the coast and made an unexpected second pass over those of us who had already begun to leave Venice Beach to get back to work.

The next part of the shuttle’s move occurs on October 12 when it will be put on a transporter and slowly taken to its new home at the science center, and I’ll more than likely be stationed somewhere along the route, screaming, running in circles, and punching myself in the head as it passes by.

*In fairness, many people have specific things that elicit Pavlovian responses that turn them into three year olds – witness women at a KISS concert or men in the bleachers at a Packers game.

Shuttle Endeavour

In the words of Scott: “That’s one badass shuttle pilot to be able to land the shuttle on top of a 747 in mid flight.”

Shuttle Endeavour with Chase Plane

The shuttle and one of its two chase planes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *