It was a historic day for the nation as NASA's last shuttle flight buzzed California, bringing residents out of their homes, businesses and cars to gaze up in wonder at the Space Shuttle Endeavour, on its last flight, marking the end of an era that started with President John F. Kennedy's promise to see that America landed the first man on the moon by the end of the sixties. Unlike many modern politicians, President Kennedy knew how to keep a promise.
The space shuttle flew from the California state Capital, and then the shuttle was observed flying over the Golden Gate Bridge. Endeavour even made an appearance at Disneyland. Thousands of people watched as the last flight of the very last shuttle made its way to the final resting place - a museum in Los Angeles. This was a once-in-a-lifetime moment, and much video of the Endeavour flight was captured.
When the shuttle Endeavour passed over Moffett Field, cries could be heard of "come back" from those watching below. One woman, 61-year-old Elaine Swanson of Redwood City, was hoping for more. "It could have made a U-turn," she said, having started her journey to see the shuttle flight over California at 6 a.m. "With all the taxpayer money, it wouldn't have hurt."
Endeavour flew 25 missions to space between 1992 and 2011. The shuttle was instrumental in supplying the International Space Station and in the repair of the Hubble Telescope. Endeavour was only one of three surviving shuttles. The shuttle Discovery has been on display at a Smithsonian in Virginia since April. The shuttle Atlantis is on display at the JFK Space Center.
The other two shuttles were tragic disasters for the crew and the scientists and astronomers who worked to put them into space. The Challenger shuttle exploded in 1986, killing seven, and in 2003 the shuttle Columbia exploded on its return flight home. One of the NASA's own heroes was present at Moffett Field as the Space Shuttle Endeavour flew by. Karol Bobko, who goes by "Bo" flew every shuttle except for Endeavour. "It's a little sad because I realize this is the last flight of the last shuttle,'' he said.
Endeavour, and all of the crews of all of the NASA shuttle missions, America salutes you and thanks you for the scientific progress that has been made because of you. You are all heroes. Here are some videos of the Shuttle Endeavour flight for those who missed it.