Tag Archives: Endeavour

To get the space shuttle Endeavour to its new home in Los Angeles city officials have decided to cut down about 400 trees along the route.

The future dies to exhibit the past: To get the space shuttle Endeavour to its new home in Los Angeles city officials have decided to cut down about 400 trees along the route.

Several alternatives for the Oct. 12 move were considered but ultimately discarded. Taking the massive shuttle apart would have damaged the delicate tiles that acted as heat sensors. Airlifting the 170,000-pound craft was also ruled out. Not even heavy-duty helicopters could sustain that kind of weight, Rudolph said. A freeway route was considered until engineers realized that the five-story-tall, 78-foot-wide shuttle could not travel under overpasses. “We had to identify a route that had no permanent infrastructures like buildings and bridges,” Rudolph said.

They settled on a final route that will follow Manchester Boulevard to Crenshaw Drive, then onto Crenshaw Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard — wide thoroughfares with few permanent obstacles. To make way for the shuttle, some trees will be pruned, power lines will be raised and traffic signals will be removed. Inglewood will lose 128 trees, and communities in South Los Angeles about 265 trees, though the exact number has not yet been determined.

Normally I wouldn’t sweat over the removal of some trees, but this is quite disgusting. It once again raises questions about the choice of Los Angeles over Houston for a shuttle.

Gouges and dings found on the tiles on Endeavour’s belly

Seven damage sites, mostly small gouges and dings, have been found on the tiles on Endeavour’s belly.

“This is not cause for alarm, it’s not cause for any concern,” said [LeRoy Cain, chairman of NASA’s Mission Management Team]. “We know how to deal with these things in terms of how to assess them. We know that if we get to the point where we need some more data for our assessment, we have a plan for going and doing that.”

If you schedule a launch they will come

We arrived at Space View Park in Titusville at around 9 pm, bringing with us camp chairs, a softside cooler with food, cameras, tripods, and light jackets. I also brought a light fleece sleeping bag for additional warmth. Even though it was still twelve hours before launch, the entire shoreline was occupied by a line of people either sitting or lying on blankets or pads. Back from the water and under the trees there were more than a dozen small tents set up.

We found a spot where the line was only one deep and set up our chairs. In front of us were a group of Floridians who had never seen a launch up close, though they told us how they had often watched shuttle launches from their front door. As one of them said, “There won’t be many more chances to see this, so we decided we better come down.”

Also set up in the park under a tarp was a electronic setup with television feeds and speakers linked to NASA TV, run by the Space Walk of Fame Foundation, a volunteer organization that maintains Space View Park and the monuments to space that are on display there.

Christmas lights and VAB

Looking east out across the Indian River was Merritt Island, with the launchpad lit up like a Christmas tree eleven miles distant. To the right was the VAB.
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The launch

After fifty years of following space, I finally saw a big rocket launch today. Below is one of the pictures I took of Endeavour as it roared into the sky.

The experience was immensely satisfying, to put it mildly. Watching the shuttle rise up on a column of flame and smoke made me feel young again, my heart racing with excitement. Then Endeavour disappeared into the clouds, and we stood waiting for the roar of liftoff to travel the eleven miles to us. The long wait made this experience far different from what one sees on television. Then the rumble arrived, deep and low, but not as loud as I expected. One experienced launch-watcher explained that the low clouds and humidity might have muffled the sound. Bob Rose said that it was what he expected for this location, and that my expectations were based on those who experienced the launch from the press site at three miles. I think Bob is almost certainly right.

Later today I will put up a longer post, describing what it was like to stand among like-minded space nuts who had traveled from far and wide to see a crew of humans leave the Earth’s gravity and help trace a warm line of life across barren space.

Endeavour's launch

At Space View Park

We have now set up at Space View Park in Titusville, Florida. The picture below shows what we found when we went by earlier today to scout out the location. As you can see, several people were already there. There were also people who had put up tents, as well as two food vendors.

The launchpad is the tiny spike visible on the horizon directly at the end of the pier. You can also see the VAB to the right.

Space View Park

On the way to the Cape

As I write this I am sitting in the back seat of Bob & Brenda Rose’s minivan as we drive down to Florida for Monday’s shuttle launch. We plan to arrive at Space View Park in Titusville around 8 pm Sunday to claim a good location for seating, waiting, and watching the launch. We will be about 11 miles away, but this park is considered one of the better locations for the general public, with a clear view of the launchpad.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Obama will attend last Endeavour launch; Rep. Giffords also expected

Politicians go sightseeing: Obama will attend the last Endeavour launch; Rep. Giffords is also expected to attend.

Giffords makes sense, as her husband will be on the flight. Obama is merely taking another of his numerous breaks from work to get a last look at a program he helped kill.

NASA Endeavour Shuttle Launch Delayed

The Daily Beast reports today that the last flight of the shuttle Endeavour has been delayed due to a schedule conflict with a Russian Progress freighter.

Note that this has not yet been confirmed by NASA.

Update from spaceref: NASA has rescheduled Endeavour’s launch for April 29.