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Endeavour to Fly Low Near NASA Ames on Sept. 20

Bay Area residents can glimpse a rare sight: The space shuttle's farewell tour in a final ferry ride around the country before it becomes an exhibit in Los Angeles.

Space Shuttle Endeavour, which made its final journey into lower orbit in May 2011, will soon make its final flight—on the back of a Boeing 747 aircraft—from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), where it will become part a museum.

En route to its new home at the California Science Center, the last space shuttle is scheduled to do a kind of farewell tour this week, conducting low flyovers of select communities, stopping in Houston before heading to the West Coast in a four-leg, three-day ferry flight.

Folks in the Bay Area may be in for a special treat, since Endeavour is scheduled to conduct low-level flyovers at about 1,500 feet above locations along a planned flight path on Sept. 20 from Sacramento to San Francisco, and near the NASA Ames Research Center, which abuts Mountain View.

The exact timing of when Endeavour will fly over the Bay Area will be determined closer to the flight time because of weather conditions and operational constraints, according to NASA. Its Monday departure was delayed because of bad weather in Houston. 

Endeavour is currently scheduled to take off from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base on the morning of Sept. 20 before passing near Ames.

The aircraft also will conduct a flyover of many Los Angeles sites before landing about 11 a.m. PDT at LAX.

Endeavour will then be an attraction at the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion in the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The public can see it beginning on Oct. 30. NASA made the title transfer to the California Science Center Oct. 11, 2011.

Endeavour's, STS-134 mission, was the space shuttle program's second-to-last flight. Commander Mark Kelly led the six-person veteran crew, which included Gregory H. Johnson, pilot; Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency's Roberto Vittori, all mission specialists to the International Space Station.

Endeavour completed 25 missions, spent 299 days in orbit, and orbited Earth 4,671 times while traveling 122,883,151 miles.

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