- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
- Grass-Whopper: Pan-fried cricket burgers go over big in New York City
- CDC sees measles spike and ‘failure to vaccinate’
- Ex-Secret Service agent seeking Md. seat: Everyone’s a ‘de facto criminal’ now
- New prosthetic hand technology lets amputees feel again
Shuttle lands in Calif. after cross-country voyage
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Space shuttle Endeavour returned to its California roots Thursday after a wistful cross-country journey that paid homage to NASA workers and former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her astronaut husband.
“That’s my spaceship,” said Endeavour’s last commander, Mark Kelly, as the couple watched the shuttle loop over Tucson, Ariz.
Afterward, a 747 jet carrying Endeavour swooped out of the desert sky and glided down a concrete runway at Edwards Air Force Base, 100 miles north of Los Angeles, not far from where the now-retired shuttle fleet was assembled.
The shuttle and jumbo jet take off again at sunrise Friday to make low, sweeping passes over Sacramento, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Los Angeles.
Next stop: Los Angeles International Airport where Endeavour will be prepped for a slow ride on a special flatbed trailer through city streets next month to its final destination as a museum showpiece.
Endeavour’s highly anticipated homecoming was twice delayed by stormy weather along the Gulf of Mexico. Early Wednesday, it departed from its Cape Canaveral, Fla., home base, soared over NASA centers in Mississippi and Louisiana, and made a layover in Houston, home of Mission Control. Crowds craned their necks skyward as the shuttle flew low over Florida’s Space Coast and Houston.
After refueling in El Paso, Texas, Thursday, it flew over the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico, an emergency shuttle landing site used once. Kelly requested that Endeavour sail over Tucson to honor Giffords, who is recovering after suffering a head wound in a shooting rampage last year. Giffords was a member of the House committee on science, space and technology. The couple watched from the roof of a University of Arizona parking garage.
Endeavour’s maiden voyage into space two decades ago ended with a planned touchdown at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center based at Edwards. Unlike a return from orbit, no ear-splitting twin sonic booms accompanied the latest return.
Known as the baby shuttle, Endeavour was the last one built, replacing Challenger, which exploded during liftoff in 1986. NASA lost a second shuttle, Columbia, which broke apart during re-entry in 2003. A replacement was not built. Fourteen astronauts died in the accidents.
Six years after the Challenger tragedy, during Endeavour’s first flight, three spacewalking astronauts made a daring rescue of a stranded communications satellite. A year later, it was launched on a service repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.
Endeavour flew 25 times, mostly to supply the International Space Station. It spent 299 days in space and circled Earth nearly 4,700 times, logging 123 million miles.
The space shuttle has deep roots in California: The main engines were manufactured in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. The heat shield tiles that protected the shuttle during re-entry were invented in Silicon Valley. The shuttle’s “fly-by-wire” technology was developed in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey.
Shuttle parts from California and other plants around the country were shipped to Rockwell International’s assembly factory in Palmdale near Edwards. For the early part of the shuttle program, landings occurred in the desert before switching to Florida. Edwards remained the backup landing site.
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Budget negotiators look to federal workers for benefit concessions
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- New battlefront emerges in war between Republicans, tea party
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- GOP launches candidate training: How to talk to women
- KNIGHT: Can the ACLU force Catholic hospitals to perform abortions?
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Positive propaganda for a nation in peril.
White House pets gone wild!