Shuttle Endeavour Begins Final Cross-Country Piggyback Trek - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Shuttle Endeavour Begins Final Cross-Country Piggyback Trek

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NBCNEWS.COM/CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — For the last time in history, a space shuttle soared into the skies over Florida on Wednesday. Rather than riding on rockets and heading into orbit, however, Endeavour was mounted atop a jumbo jet and is destined for display at a California museum.

The retired orbiter, mated to the space agency's modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, or SCA, took off from the Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility, which was the same runway where Endeavour made its 25th and final return from space in June 2011. The 7:22 a.m. ET liftoff marked the start of the final ferry flight for the 30-year space shuttle program.

After taking to the air, Endeavour, riding piggyback on the SCA, embarked on a series of flyovers of Florida's Space Coast. The shuttle-jet duo flew over Kennedy and its visitor complex, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base before returning to the landing facility for one last low pass. It then headed west to cross out of the Sunshine State.

Endeavour's final departure from Florida had been delayed twice by weather. The SCA with its last shuttle passenger aboard was originally scheduled to take off on Monday, but a low pressure front and associated thunderstorms along the planned flight path forced NASA to postpone the takeoff. click here to read more

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