Endeavour – the last NASA shuttle ever constructed – is slated to journey to a new home this week, as it prepares to leave Kennedy Space Center aboard a modified Boeing 747 and head toward Los Angeles, California.
After a series of delays due to anticipated thunderstorms along Endeavour’s route, the scheduled ferry flight has been pushed back to a Wednesday morning sunrise takeoff.
NASA officials say they are currently discussing how the delays will affect Endeavour’s flight plan, which was originally slated to include a stop in Houston ahead of a Thursday arrival in L.A. The space shuttle is now expected to arrive on Friday.
Built to replace Challenger after the tragic loss of the shuttle in 1986, Endeavour made a total of 25 missions before its retirement in the spring of last year. During those missions, the shuttle covered 122,883,151 miles, spent 299 days in orbit and accomplished a number of major milestones, including the delivery of the first American-made component to the International Space Station and the flight of the first African-American female astronaut into space.
After arriving at Los Angeles International Airport, Endeavour will make a 12-mile journey through the streets to its new resting place, the California Science Center. Thousands are expected to turn out for both the shuttle’s final flight and its parade through the city.
Endeavour is the second shuttle amongst NASA’s retired fleet to make the trip to its new home. Enterprise was ferried from Kennedy Space Center to New York City’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum earlier this year.