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Kelly, Giffords watch Endeavour fly over Ariz.
TUCSON, ARIZ. (AP) - The last commander of the space shuttle Endeavour said “That’s my spaceship” as it flew over Tucson, Ariz., in honor of him and his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
The retired shuttle did a loop over the city atop a modified jumbo jet Thursday before continuing its trek west to retirement in a Los Angeles museum.
Kelly says the flyover recalled the memory of landing the shuttle, which he says was challenging because the shuttle doesn’t use its engines as it returns to Earth. He says, “It doesn’t glide very well.”
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
Space shuttle Endeavour flew over Tucson on Thursday in honor of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her astronaut husband before continuing its trek west to retirement in a Los Angeles museum.
Hundreds of people gathered on the grass mall at the University of Arizona campus to watch the Endeavour, atop a modified jumbo jet, as it flew in from the east and did a partial loop over the city.
“It’s beautiful. Oh, my god,” Thomas said as it flew over.
The retired shuttle took off from a Houston airport Thursday morning, and will end up in Los Angeles after spending the night at Edwards Air Force Base, 100 miles north of Los Angeles, then making one last low-flying pass around the state.
The couple recently moved back to Tucson from Houston, where Giffords was recovering from serious injuries she suffered in a 2011 attack in which a gunman killed six people and wounded Giffords and 12 others.
Thursday's flyover gives NASA a chance to honor Giffords‘ legacy as a longtime advocate for American human spaceflight, NASA spokeswoman Lisa Malone told The Associated Press in an email. She said no additional costs would be incurred by honoring Kelly’s request.
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