Endeavour Shuttle Ferry Postponed Due To Inclement Weather Forecast
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
UPDATED September 18, 2012
NASA’s retired Space Shuttle Endeavour will take a final tour across the US from Florida to the California Science Center in Los Angeles piggybacking a modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA). The flight, which was scheduled to begin Monday (September 17), has been postponed until Wednesday (September 19) due to inclement weather.
To ensure a safe flight for the shuttle and its carrier, NASA managers decided to delay the flight one day, after weather forecasts called for unfavorable conditions along the flight path between NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Houston.
Despite the delay, NASA still aims to transport Endeavour to LA International Airport (LAX) by September 20. With the cooperation of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the SCA will conduct low-level flyovers of about 1,500 feet above many locations along the scheduled flight route. The exact timing of these flyovers will vary depending on weather conditions and operational constraints. Some scheduled flyovers could still be delayed or canceled.
On Wednesday Sept. 19, the SCA will carry Endeavour over various areas of Florida’s Space Coast, including the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base. After visiting key areas in Florida, SCA will then carry on toward Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. As it arrives over the Texas Gulf Coast, it will perform flyovers above Houston and Clear Lake before landing at Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
On Thursday Sept. 20, the SCA will depart Houston, refuel at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas, and continue on with flyovers above White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico and NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California, before landing at Dryden about midday.
On Friday Sept. 21, the SCA will take off from Dryden and perform flyovers above NASA’s Ames Research Center and various landmarks in several cities before reaching its final destination at LAX around 11 a.m. (2 p.m. EDT) on the 20th, after which Endeavour will be removed from the SCA and spend a few weeks at a United Airlines hangar undergoing transport preparations for its 12 mile journey down city streets through Inglewood and LA to the California Science Center.
Endeavour is scheduled to arrive at the center on the evening of October 13.
Endeavour will be displayed at the center’s Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion beginning October 30. The display will commemorate Endeavour’s achievements as part of the Space Shuttle program. Endeavour completed 25 missions, spent 299 days in orbit, and orbited Earth 4,671 times while traveling 122,883,151 miles.