Posted on September 20, 2012 at 7:49 AM
Thursday, Sep 20 at 12:43 PM
HOUSTON—The retired Space Shuttle Endeavour took off from Houston’s Ellington Airport just after sunrise Thursday.
Its departure was a sad farewell for so many who consider NASA’s space shuttle program a part of Houston history.
The shuttle, bolted to the back of a special 747, took off on a flight path over the Johnson Space Center. It was then scheduled to go over downtown Houston one last time before making additional low-altitude flyovers in Austin and Phoenix. It was also scheduled to land in El Paso for a brief refueling before completing its trip to California later in the day.
Unlike its arrival in Houston, onlookers were kept away from the airport as the shuttle departed. This didn't keep people from stopping on nearby property to witness the event from the other side of the fence. Traffic on the Gulf Freeway came to a stop as rubberneckers slowed down to take a peek.
Thursday marks the last time a shuttle will take to the sky as Endeavour goes on permanent display at a museum in Los Angeles.