back to article Space shuttle to slip surly bonds of Earth one last time over California

Retired space shuttle Endeavour is set for a sightseeing tour of California and LA today, in a whistle-stop flyover of the state. Space shuttle Endeavour over Reliant Stadium and Astrodome The shuttle, piggybacking on its 747 jumbo-jet, will fly over the north of the state and a large part of the Los Angeles basin, buzzing …

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  1. Leeroy

    They should crash one of these shuttles into the moon....

    Yes i know they are not built to go that far but if you dont mind it taking 20 years to get there i am sure some smart ass can come up with an orbital plan..... you know for the giggles :)

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Boffin

      Put it in a low energy transfer orbit?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low_energy_transfer

    2. dssf
      Joke

      Spoonerism i have for years waited and wanted to use...

      Crashed where? On the Dark side of the Moon, or the marked side of the dune?

  2. archengel46
    Thumb Up

    Bootnotes...

    Bootnotes make my day!

  3. John Robson Silver badge

    Why not inspire a new generation by, you know, doing something new and difficult.

    Not by trotting out some pretty old* tech.

    *Yes I know it's impressive old tech, but really - we're relying on 30 year old tech to inspire - what have the kids who were inspired by the shuttle first time round done?

    1. Dave 15 Silver badge

      what have you done to inspire

      After all, it appears most people are inspired by footballers, beauty queens, actors and heavily boobed starlets, this is the responsibility of the bosses/politicians/media folk promote it.

      Yes bosses are implicated - pay a real engineer or someone making something $40,000 a year, a footballer $40,000 a week and an actor $40,000 a day.

      Politicians allow it rather than taxing those on more than $100,000 a year at 120% (yes - deliberate, you get paid too much and you pay even more than you earn).

      Media - when was the last non-popstar/footballer/big boobed actress story used?

    2. Aaron Em

      "[W]hat have the kids who were..."

      Curiosity?

    3. stucs201

      re: what have the kids who were inspired by the shuttle first time round done?

      I believe a certain Elon Musk is busy building rockets, with an aim to get to Mars one day.

      Next question...

    4. Mike007

      perhaps if they wanted people to be interested in technology it should be more reachable - i recently tried to purchase a load of ICs to play around with and it can be quite a challenge finding things in a big enough form factor that you can actually do something with them without needing robotic arms to mount the components on a PCB...

  4. Steve Knox
    Coat

    British Spelling

    Actually, we just had a leftover u.

    (Okay, it was really an n, but if you turn it upside-down, it looks just like a u! Really!)

    1. frank ly

      Re: British Spelling

      Until you mentioned it, I never realised that. Thank you :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: British Spelling

      I wonder how many Americans that extra "u" tripped up?

  5. JulianB
    FAIL

    "site"?

    You'd hope the California Science Center knew the difference between "sight" and "site".

  6. jeffo

    Maps

    Hope they're not using Apple Maps to navigate….

  7. Ol'Peculier
    Happy

    Discovery

    Went to the Smithsonian museum at Dulles airport where Discovery now lives, two things that struck me was a) it's a bit smaller than I expected and

    b) It's in need of a good wash.

    Mind you, if I'd gone round the world that number of times I'd be a bit grubby two.

    Am still pleased they kept the 'u' in Endeavour - shame they couldn't have brought it to Whitby!

  8. danny_0x98

    So Cal

    Today's final leg will not be over the northern part of the state. The flight path is not being specified, but there is a mention of a flyover of Disneyland, which is due east of Los Angeles International and about 30 miles away. Edwards Air Force Base is northeast of Los Angeles and a direct flight would take about thirty minutes, so, it's got to be going somewhere because the LA flyover starts about 3-1/2 hours into the flight. Last night I checked what's to the west of Edwards — using iOS6 Maps, yeah, that's right — and found it's Vandenberg Air Force Base, launch site for many satellites. We tend to call that the Central Coast. My guess is the shuttle carrier heads back east over the Santa Ynez Valley drops south to Santa Barbara and then shadows the coast before turning east at Malibu.

    Mine's the one I don't need: I'm going to walk to a spot in the Hollywood Hills with Santa Monica to Long Beach vistas and it's going to be 85 degrees F at mid-day.

    1. danny_0x98

      Re: So Cal

      I'm wrong. It has flown north to Sacramento and San Francisco today.

      Apologies.

    2. skeptical i
      Thumb Up

      Re: So Cal, but first -- Arizona

      Oh, so THAT"s what was flying over Tucson, AZ, yesterday (Thu 20th) morning (~11:15 ack emma GMT -07:00). From where I was (northeast end of town), I saw it come from the southeast, cross toward midtown along the north City limits, veer south a wee bit, head west, then head northwest and presumably en route to California. Given we have an Air Force base here (Davis-Monthan), seeing/hearing the occasional "what the heck is THAT?" aircraft is not new, per se (we host pilots from other countries for winter training since we have great flying weather almost year'round), but this was definitely a show-stopper. I heard later that the transport jet did a flyover for the University of Arizona campus (its Lunar and Planetary Labs are/were a significant player in the Mars rover program), and that Mark Kelly, the last pilot to captain the Endeavour, was on the roof of one of the UA parking garages with his spouse retired Congressmember Gabrielle Giffords. I guess that's my Brush with Greatness for this year. :D

  9. dssf

    Dangerous bits?

    What, the thruster and engines fuel? A single example of any of most desktops and high-end laptos probably out compute all the combined computers aboard the Shuttles (not counting mission-specific computers that are not permanently wired into the Shuttles. IIRC, there was a point in time when some wrist watches were more powerful than certain Shuttles before they received upgrades...

    Not picking sides. Just making an observation. So, please, no sphincter-ripping down-thumbing, thank you verry much :-)

    1. Blain Hamon
      Boffin

      Re: Dangerous bits?

      Given the age of the shuttles, and the sort of wacky things they have to do, it's more likely that the dangerous bits are hazardous materials like mercury, asbestos, lead solder, heavy metals, coolant, and other things that, now that the shuttle's not going to be under constant maintenance and instead in an enclosed area, should probably be disposed and/or recycled properly.

    2. ian 22
      Flame

      Re: Dangerous bits?

      Explosive bolts, generically "pyrotechnics", must be removed. Wouldn't want little Johnny to blow off some fingers whilst fondling the spacecraft.

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    On the good side...

    They're launching X-37B again, so at least the USAF is keeping the ball rolling. And Space-X is launching in October. And we have 2 working rovers on Mars, including one that weighs a ton and carries a hell of a laser.

    So it's not all doom and black roses.

    (IMHO, there should have been just 1 or 2 of these model shuttles, then the "lessons learned" should have been rolled into something better (like the X-37B!) if NASA kept to its R&D charter like it should have.)

  11. Radelix
    Happy

    Indeed a title

    I will be taking a long smoke break around noon time to watch the shuttle land since my office is about a mile south of LAX. A co-work of mine will be joining me since he lived in W. Palm Beach FL which is about 2-300 miles south of the Kennedy Space center and would sit on his roof as a teenager to watch the night launches.

    I know this comment fits a "cool story bro" but how can I say we will never see these amazing machines fly again.

    1. SirDigalot

      Re: Indeed a title

      Can you really see them that far away? I live not a long shot from the space coast and never even seen a launch, admittedly I just moved here this year and also the launches tend to be too early or late for me to want to go and watch them, but I honestly did not know you could see them as far away as I live let alone down south!

      I may have to sit on the roof one morning/late one night with some cold ones to see if I can see something, of course getting down after a number of hours of drinking, without injury, may be a little difficult

      (I could of course stay sober and go for a 30 minute drive and see it a lot closer, but where is the fun in that

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Indeed a title

        @SirDigalot

        Can I recommend you try a bit harder to see a launch, you won't regret it. In 2010 I took the kids out of school in the UK (ignoring the idiotic tutting of a few of the teachers, although to be fair most were supportive) to travel to Florida to see STS-130 launch the Cupola - I think the last piece of the ISS.

        It was the last scheduled night-time Shuttle launch (although I think some later launches may have slipped to night-time, not sure) and it was ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR -- from SIX MILES AWAY! My kids, then 15,14 and 12 still have shiny eyes whenever they tell anyone about it, and we are talking about teenagers whose first priority is to look cool.

        A couple of days later we say the SDO launched in the daytime atop an Atlas V. I will never forget seeing the sonic boom ripple through a clear blue sky like ripples on a pond - amazing.

  12. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Flame

    As opposed to....

    "..Any readers puzzled at the British spelling of Endeavour's name may be interested to know that the shuttle was named after the Royal Navy research ship HMS Endeavour, commanded by Captain Cook on his first great voyage of discovery to the Antipodes..."

    ...the Concorde, which was named after a publicity tiff with the French...

    1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: As opposed to....

      Actually, I think Capt. Cook sailed in His Majesty's Bark Endeavour. So much worse than his Byte, don'cha know.

  13. richard 7

    Reminds me..

    Of all the people that turned out for the last flights of the Concordes

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "readers puzzled at the British spelling of Endeavour's name"

    What about the readers puzzled at the ?US? spelling in "to see this remarkable site"?

    That wouldn't be a mis-spelling of olde merde, would it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "readers puzzled at the British spelling of Endeavour's name"

      It's not American AFAIK and it is technically correct, they're calling the site remarkable, not the sight of the site remarkable. Which probably makes no sense.

      To see this remarkable camp site.

      To see this remarkable sight... of the camp site.

  15. JB
    Unhappy

    Missed it!

    Here in downtown Sacramento, it was supposed to fly over at about 9.30am. We all stood outside waiting, heard a rumble, didn't see anything. Someone got on their phone and told us we'd missed it, so we all trooped back into the office, only to catch a glimpse of the shuttle when we went to close the blinds! damn! Then all the smug bastards at the top of the tall buildings started sending their mobile phone pics to us!

  16. Martyn Collis
    Coat

    Why dont they just auto-pilot one of these into space and "park it" near to the ISS, that way if anything ever goes wrong on it the naughts can get home quickly instead of waiting for an emergency craft to be sent up, they could even rig a remote pilot system to it and use it for any type of space emergency.

    Mine is the one with the patten application for an un-unique good idea

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