Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Flight

On Friday, September 21, 2012 Space Shuttle Endeavour (OV-105) flew for the last time.  For this flight, the orbiter hitched a ride atop NASA's Shuttle Carrier Aircraft for a farewell tour around Southern Calfornia.  Paying its respects to such landmarks as Jet Propulsion Labratory (JPL), Universal Studios, Disneyland and downtown Los Angeles to name a few, Endeavour was greeted by thousands of onlookers everywhere it went.  Endeavour, the youngest of the now-retired shuttle fleet, was built in response to the loss of Challenger and placed into service in 1992.  Over it's storied career Endeavour flew 25 missions for a total of 122,853,151 miles and spent 299 days in space. She touched down for the final time on June 1, 2011 before being permanently decommissioned.  

Following a brief stay at Los Angeles International Airport Endeavour will travel by land through the streets of LA to ultimately spend the rest of its days proudly displayed at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California. Once open to the pubic visitors from around the world will be able to enjoy this enormous piece of history for years to come.

Personally, it was a huge honor to photograph Endeavour's final flight as it's the only shuttle in the remaining fleet I never had the chance to photograph during launch.  It was nice to share the moment with friends, fellow photographers and fellow aerospace enthusiasts.




STS135 - The Final Flight

The final launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis also marks the end of NASA's thirty year Space Shuttle Program.  Thousands of media representatives and possible millions of spectators converged on central Florida and Kennedy Space Center for the historic July 8th launch.  

Despite torrential downpours and lightning the day before, Launch Director Mike Leinbach decided to push through with only a 30% chance for favorable weather at launch time.  To the surprise of thousands the launch countdown continued as weather cleared.  Aside from a brief mechanical glitch which held the countdown at T-minus 31 seconds, the launch went off without a hitch.  Many members of the media, several who had been covering the program for decades, could be seen with watery eyes as they said goodbye to an old friend.

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