UK & World News
Space Shuttle Endeavour Makes Final Flight
Space shuttle Endeavour has landed safely at Los Angeles airport after taking its final flight.
The spacecraft was strapped to the back of a 747 jumbo jet at Edwards Air Force Base around 100 miles away, and taken on a five-hour aerial tour around California landmarks, including the Golden Gate bridge, the Hollywood sign, and Disneyworld.
At the Santa Monica Pier, spectators pointed their cameras skyward and some chanted "USA" as Endeavour swooped along the coast.
"Even though it was a few seconds, it was a unique experience to witness history," said Andrew Lerner, 23.
Thousands of spectators lined the streets in Sacramento, cheering as Endeavour made two loops around the state Capitol building.
Traffic came to a near-standstill along a motorway near the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and police used loud speakers to move on drivers.
Matthew Montgomery, whose aunt was an engineer on the early Apollo missions, brought his two-year-old son to see the shuttle's final flight.
"I was going to leave him in day care but thought this is a once-in-a-lifetime deal," he said.
Endeavour will travel by road on a special flatbed trailer next month to its final destination at the California Science Centre, where it will remain on show.
The space shuttle has extensive links to California; the main engines were manufactured in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, while the heat shield tiles that protected it during re-entry were invented in Silicon Valley.
Known as the baby shuttle, Endeavour replaced Challenger, which exploded during lift-off in 1986.
Nasa lost a second shuttle, Columbia, when it broke apart during re-entry in 2003. Fourteen astronauts died in the accidents.
Endeavour flew 25 times, mostly to supply the International Space Station. It spent 299 days in space and circled Earth nearly 4,700 times, clocking up 123 million miles (198 million km).
Endeavour is the second of three remaining shuttles to head to its retirement home.
In April, Discovery arrived at the Smithsonian Institution's hangar in Virginia.
Atlantis, which closed out the shuttle programme, will stay in Florida where it will be towed a short distance to the Kennedy Space Centre's visitor centr in the autumn.
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