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Endeavour flies by Golden Gate Bridge, other sites

September 21, 2012 8:30:10 PM PDT
It was a majestic sight to behold as the Space Shuttle Endeavour flew over the Bay Area Friday, delighting thousands who came out to watch the historic farewell flight.

Endeavour pays tribute to NASA Ames

The NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field was a very symbolic spot for the shuttle's farewell flight. About 20,000 people gathered there to watch the fly-over.

Endeavour emerged riding piggy back on the modified 747 jumbo jet from behind historic Hangar One. It was one of the lowest flyovers of this leg of the shuttle's trek to Southern California.

Astronaut Stephen Robinson was among those who gathered to see the shuttle -- he was aboard Endeavour for one of his four missions.

"The fact that so many people get to see that space shuttle that have never seen it before, just really makes me proud and happy to share the experience," he said.

But its flight path caught most watchers in Mountain View by surprise. Just seconds before the shuttle came into sight most spectators first saw one of the escort jets flying over the airstrip where people were expecting to see the shuttle, but had to change focus at the last minute when it emerged from behind Hangar One.

Golden Gate fly-over watched by thousands

Thousands of people gathered around vista point on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge to see Endeavour and many more lined Crissy Field and climbed onto San Francisco rooftops.

The crowds enjoyed two fly-bys of the Golden Gate, which means they got to watch it cross the bridge four times total -- twice in each direction.

Fly-over a disappointment for some in East Bay

More than 500 people packed the observation deck at Oakland's Chabot Space and Science Center in hopes of getting a glimpse of Endeavour hitching a ride on the back of NASA's specially equipped 747, but that didn't happen.

It took a slightly different route than NASA expected, and the surrounding trees and building blocked the view for pretty much everybody there even though it was a perfect fog-free day.

The center's executive director, Alexander Zwissler, says NASA would only give an approximate time for the fly-by, making it impossible to give specifics.

Friday's farewell flight of a little more than 1,000 miles will be among Endeavour's most memorable -- which is saying a lot, since the shuttle traveled 120 million miles through space.


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