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Endeavour flies by Golden Gate Bridge, other sites
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Space shuttle Endeavour crisscrossed California Friday in a last aerial hurrah before retiring to a Los Angeles museum.
Hitching a ride on top of a jumbo jet, the pair departed Edwards Air Force Base, 100 miles north of Los Angeles, circling the high desert that gave birth to the shuttle fleet before heading to Northern California.
Thousands of spectators jammed rooftop buildings and streets in Sacramento, cheering as Endeavour made two loops around the state Capitol. A crowd of schoolchildren squealed in delight during the second flyover.
“I was going to leave him in daycare but thought this is a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” said Montgomery, whose aunt was an engineer on the early Apollo missions.
After circling Sacramento, Endeavour veered toward the San Francisco Bay area, swooping over the Golden Gate Bridge as throngs snapped pictures on their cellphones and shared on social media sites.
Next up: Los Angeles-area landmarks including the Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood Sign and Disneyland.
At the Griffith Observatory, overlooking the Hollywood Sign, a crowd of people _ many dressed in shorts and flip-flops with kids in tow _ camped out on beach chairs and blankets on the lush lawns, waiting for a flyover later in Endeavour’s journey.
The nearly 5-hour air show will culminate with an afternoon landing at the Los Angeles International Airport for an arrival ceremony _ then, in a few weeks, a slow-speed journey across town through neighborhoods to its final museum home.
Since Endeavour will buzz by some of the Golden State’s most iconic sights, law enforcement and transportation authorities warned motorists not to “gawk and drive.”
“We want people to take in this majestic show,” Los Angeles police Cmdr. Scott Kroeber said earlier this week. “But if you’re driving, please drive and don’t try to take in the show simultaneously.”
Extra officers will be on duty along the freeways near the airport to make sure traffic flows smoothly as the shuttle zooms overhead.
Endeavour returned to its birthplace Thursday after an emotional cross-country ferry flight that made a special flyover of Tucson, Ariz., to honor its last commander, Mark Kelly, and his wife, former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
NASA’s shuttle fleet, which retired last year after three decades of flight, was assembled in Palmdale near Edwards Air Force Base. The military outpost 100 miles north of Los Angeles served as the original shuttle landing strip and remained a backup site in case of stormy weather at Cape Canaveral, Fla.
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