Just before landing at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday to begin its final journey into retirement, the space shuttle Endeavour glided majestically over southern California, touring the sights and offering city residents a thrilling view.
Piggybacked on a Boeing 747 jumbo jet, the spacecraft soared over the Hollywood Hills, the skyscrapers of downtown L.A., City Hall, and in a particularly photo-worthy moment, past the iconic white Hollywood sign.
En route to Los Angeles, Endeavour’s aerial tour zigzagged over California — from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to Sacramento, the state capital. Thousands of people across the state gathered to skygaze and snap photos. The above video, captured by NASA, shows Endeavour on the last leg of its airborne tour, eventually touching down safely on the LAX tarmac around 1 p.m. on Sept. 21.
From the airport, Endeavour will travel 12 miles on surface streets, through the heart of Los Angeles, to its final home, the California Science Center. The shuttle is expected to be rolled out of the airport on Oct. 12.
Over the course of its two decades in service, Endeavour completed 25 missions. It orbited Earth nearly 4,700 times and spent a total of 299 days in space. The shuttle also flew the first mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope and made several trips to the International Space Station to provide cargo and equipment.