Perched on the back of a 747, Space Shuttle Endeavour made its valedictory tour over Texas Wednesday and Thursday, stopping at Ellington Field in Houston and Fort Bliss in El Paso on the way to its permanent new home, the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The shuttle also made a pass over the state capitol building early Thursday morning and Austinites gathered throughout the streets of downtown and craned their necks at the sky to catch a glimpse of the spacecraft.
The moment was especially bittersweet for Houston, which, despite being the home of the shuttle program, was snubbed last year by NASA administrators who opted to give the four Space Shuttles to the Kennedy Space Center and museums in New York , Washington, D.C. , and Los Angeles . (Space Center Houston got a life-sized mockup, the Explorer).
Joey Morrison adjusts his space helmet after watching the shuttle aircraft carrier with space shuttle Endeavour atop, land Wednesday at Ellington Field in Houston. Endeavour is making a final trek across the country to the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where it will be permanently displayed. ( AP Photo | David J. Phillip )
Space shuttle Endeavour sits atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, or SCA, Wednesday at Ellington Field in Houston. ( AP Photo | David J. Phillip )
Space Shuttle Endeavour and NASA's 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft at Ellington Field in the late evening hours Wednesday before it departs for California. ( NASA | Bill Stafford )
"Space shuttle Endeavor flies over the San Jacinto Monument near Houston. That's a lot of TX history" ( @TPWD)
Shuttle over Downtown Houston ( NASA)
The Space Shuttle Endeavour is ferried by NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) over downtown Austin, Texas early Thursday on its way to Los Angeles. ( AP Photo | Statesman.com, Alberto Martinez )