Early Friday afternoon, the Space Shuttle Endeavour landed at Los Angeles International Airport, completing one final flight on its way to a permanent display at the California Science Center.
The world famous Endeavour rocketed beyond our earth’s orbit 25 times.
According to the Los Angeles County office of emergency management a crowd of about 5,000 gathered on a bluff overlooking the airport to watch Endeavour’s low-altitude flyover.
Endeavour will remain at LAX until Oct. 12, when it begins its two-day parade across Los Angeles before it arrives at its new home.
Space Shuttle Endeavour (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-105) is one of the retired orbiters of the Space Shuttle program of NASA, the space agency of the United States. Endeavour was the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger. Endeavour first flew in May 1992 on mission STS-49 and its last mission STS-134 was in May 2011. The STS-134 mission was originally planned as the final mission of the Space Shuttle program, but with authorization of the STS-135 mission, Atlantis became the last Space Shuttle to fly.
The United States Congress authorized the construction of Endeavour in 1987 to replace Challenger, which was lost in the STS-51-L launch accident in 1986. Structural spares built during the construction of Discovery and Atlantis, two of the previous shuttles, were used in its assembly. NASA chose to build Endeavour from spares rather than refitting Enterprise or accepting a Rockwell International proposal to build two shuttles for the price of one of the original shuttles, on cost grounds.
The orbiter is named after the British HMS Endeavour, the ship which took Captain James Cook on his first voyage of discovery (1768–1771). This is why the name is spelled in the British English manner, rather than the American English (“Endeavor”). This has caused confusion, most notably when NASA themselves misspelled a sign on the launch pad in 2007. The name also honored Endeavour, the Command Module of Apollo 15, itself also named after Cook’s ship.
Endeavour was named through a national competition involving students in elementary and secondary schools. Entries included an essay about the name, the story behind it and why it was appropriate for a NASA shuttle, and the project that supported the name. Endeavour was the most popular entry, accounting for almost one-third of the state-level winners. The national winners were Senatobia Middle School in Senatobia, Mississippi, in the elementary division and Tallulah Falls School in Tallulah Falls, Georgia, in the upper school division. They were honored at several ceremonies in Washington, D.C., including a White House ceremony where then-President George H. W. Bush presented awards to each school.