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NASA Space shuttle retirement

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35 Years Ago: NASA Unveils First Space Shuttle, 'Enterprise' On Sept. 17, 1976, NASA's prototype space shuttle Enterprise was rolled out of its assembly facility in Southern California and displayed

nice shot of the LA Coliseum Endeavour arrives at Exposition Park, the site of its new home at the California Science Center

Really interesting documentary on the outcome of the shelved British "shuttle" project from the 80s and 90s last week. The team involved, after having government funding pulled, continued work on it and are now looking to start building the vehicle to go with their engine technology; technology that could enable 'single-stage-to-orbit' spaceflight for the first time...

Only 1 more day on iplayer for people who can access that:




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Space Shuttle Endeavour’s Final Flight as Seen From Space


The flight was captured by Digital Globe’s satellite as it flew over White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico in the image above that was highlighted today on Google Earth Blog. This great image is an interesting, almost sad reversal of the photos we are used to seeing of the shuttle heading away from Earth toward space.

The odd blue “shadow” beneath the planes is not a shadow, but a discoloration. Google Earth Blog has this explanation from Digital Globe: “In this image, the color offset of the aircraft occurs when a fast moving object is imaged by the satellite as the panchromatic image is collecting just slightly before the color image of the same location. When the image is merged together to make a color high resolution image, there is a slight offset on fast moving objects.”

The planes’ real shadow can be seen in the image below.




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  • 3 weeks later...


Off-loaded in the United hangar - Endeavour is readied for the final road trip

The shuttle has been at LAX since arriving on the back of NASA Boeing 747 SCA N905NA on Sept 21 and will start its last journey (dubbed Mission 26 by organizers) from there at 2 am on the morning of Oct 12. By 4.15 pm, LA Police Department estimate the Endeavour convoy will be crossing interstate 405



LAPD’s Unified Command and the Science Center are providing dedicated viewing public locations along the route. On October 13th, at around 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., the City of Inglewood will have an event and Endeavour will be on display for half an hour, in front of the Forum. Free parking is being set up at the Hollywood Park Race Track.

On October 13th, at around 2 p.m., Endeavour will stop for about a half an hour for a planned event at the intersection of Crenshaw Blvd. and Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Blvd. There is a dedicated area for the public to stand and view the stage, north on Crenshaw Blvd. from MLK. Space is limited so come early say the LAPD.

On October 13th, at around 8:30 p.m., Endeavour will reach its final destination . Large parking lots have been dedicated for public viewing between Bill Robertson Lane and Vermont Ave., north of MLK.


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Having escaped out of Earth's atmosphere two dozen times, the space shuttle Endeavour made a slow-speed trek through the streets of southern Los Angeles toward its retirement home at the California Science Center on Saturday. (Oct. 13)
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The space shuttle Endeavour's journey of 123 million miles ended Sunday afternoon when it rolled into its final resting place at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where it will go on public display later this month.

It took more than two days for the shuttle to inch its way across the 12 miles from the Los Angeles International Airport to the science center, navigating around trees and light poles along the narrow path.

Dozens of trees were cut down and traffic signs removed to make room for the Endeavour, but in other cases the shuttle's self-propelled mobile transporter, capable of turning the shuttle 365 degrees, helped the big white bird to zigzag its way around the obstacles.

Now, after 25 space missions in its 22-year career, Endeavour will be parked in a display pavilion built just for the shuttle.



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With the shuttle there, they should've invited back the rocket guy from the '84 games ceremonies to do a flyby...

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Space Shuttle Atlantis to make historic final journey at Kennedy Space Center

NASA’s Space Shuttle Program will hold its last ever move of an orbiter as Atlantis makes its historic final journey on Nov. 2, 2012 at Kennedy Space Center. Space Shuttle Atlantis will travel nearly 10 miles from Kennedy Space Center to its new home at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where it will be on permanent display.

The move will begin at 7 a.m. when Atlantis leaves Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at about two miles per hour on the 106-foot-long Orbiter Transporter System. The orbiter will make its way to Kennedy Space Center headquarters where at about 9:45 a.m. thousands of current NASA employees and former shuttle workers are scheduled to attend a private event that will include a ceremony to mark the transfer of Atlantis to the visitor complex.

Atlantis will then head to Space Florida’s Exploration Park, a 65-acre area that will provide a festival setting for a half-day event where guests can see the shuttle up close and “in the round.” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana and the space shuttle astronauts from STS-135, the final shuttle and Atlantis mission, are also expected to attend.


Atlantis will then leave Exploration Park and complete the final leg of its journey, traveling in front of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex along State Road 405/NASA Parkway before entering its new home, a $100 million interactive exhibit complex currently under construction and set to open in July 2013.

After the approximate 6 p.m. arrival, a 10-minute fireworks show will illuminate the skies of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, providing the grand finale.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Space Shuttle Endeavour Goes on Public Display

The final home of space shuttle Endeavour is opening its doors to the public.

Astronauts and schoolkids will be on hand Tuesday at the California Science Center in Los Angeles at the grand opening of its new shuttle display.

Visitors to the free display can't go inside Endeavour but they can use virtual exhibits, including touch-screen computer displays with information about the shuttle's flight deck. Also on display is Endeavour's zero-gravity toilet.

Thousands of people watched as the giant spacecraft made its final journey through the streets of Los Angeles and Inglewood two weeks ago.

The shuttle will be on display in a special 18,000-square-foot building until the downtown museum builds a new air and space wing that should open in about five years.




Space shuttle Endeavour, mounted on its strongback overland transport frame, is pictured inside the newly built Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The Endeavour exhibit opens to the public following grand opening ceremonies on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

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Shuttle Atlantis makes final voyage


Space shuttle Atlantis moves down the Kennedy Parkway on its 76-wheeled orbiter transporter system. In the background is the Vehicle Assembly Building. Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The shuttle Atlantis has made its last voyage, rolling 10 miles in Florida from its workplace of almost 30 years to a custom-built museum exhibition, NASA said.

The move began at about 6:30 a.m. EDT Friday as the shuttle was backed out of the Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building for its journey to a mammoth exhibit hall at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the space agency reported.

Only three walls of the hall have been built so Atlantis, with a 78-foot-wide wingspan and a tail that reaches more than five stories, can be rolled into the structure/ Workers will quickly erect the fourth wall to enclose it.

Shuttle-era astronauts and members of the workforce who spent 30 years in the shuttle program came out to witness the move.

Atlantis is the third and final shuttle of NASA's former operational fleet to be moved into a museum. Discovery, the oldest active shuttle at its time of retirement, has been on display in the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center outside Washington, since April, while Endeavour recently arrived at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

"They are being given honorable retirements," Roger Launius, curator at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum and NASA's former chief historian, said. "This is a permanent accomplishment of the American people and it's important that we understand this chapter of not just space history, but American history."

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  • 8 months later...


Space shuttle Atlantis 'go' for public viewing

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.—The last space shuttle to soar makes its museum debut this weekend, and it's the belle of NASA's retirement ball.

The Atlantis exhibit opens to the public Saturday at Kennedy Space Center, the centerpiece of a $100 million attraction dedicated to the entire 30-year shuttle program.

For the first time ever, ordinary Earthlings get to see a space shuttle in a pose previously beheld only by a select few astronauts.

Tilted at a deliberate angle of 43.21 degrees—as in 4-3-2-1, liftoff—Atlantis is raised in feigned flight with its payload bay doors wide open and a replicated robot arm outstretched.

Toss in a life-size replica of the Hubble Space Telescope and astronaut-capturedimages of the International Space Station beamed on the wall, and the impact is out-of-this-world.

More than 40 astronauts who flew on Atlantis planned to take part in Saturday's grand opening at the visitor complex, a popular tourist attraction an hour's drive due east of Orlando.

Retired astronaut Bob Springer got a sneak preview last week and liked what he saw. He rode Atlantis into orbit in 1990—one of its 33 missions from 1985 to 2011.

"It's awesome what they've been able to do," Springer said.

So many museum displays are static and cold, he noted.

"This is exactly the opposite. It's like seeing a wild animal in its native habitat. It really looks like you're looking at Atlantis from an astronaut's vantage point in space."



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