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A poster made by NASA features the space shuttle Endeavour soaring into orbit above the sailing vessel HMS Endeavour, for which it was named. The Cupola, delivered to the International Space Station by Endeavour, frames images from the shuttle's career. Clockwise from top, the first use of a drag chute during landing, rollout to a launch pad, a ferry flight return to Kennedy Space Center, rolling into an orbiter processing facility, docking to the International Space Station, and lifting operations before being mated to an external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters. The background image was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope and signifies the first shuttle servicing mission, which was performed by an Endeavour crew. Crew-designed patches from Endeavour's maiden voyage through its final mission are shown ascending toward the stars.


Apr. 25, 1991: The new $1.8-billion space shuttle Endeavour is rolled out at the Rockwell International facility in Palmdale.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Con Keyes / Los Angeles Times

May 1, 1991: Endeavour is mounted on a space shuttle carrier aircraft before being flown to Florida.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: J. Albert Diaz / Los Angeles Times

May 2, 1991: Endeavour sits atop a converted 747 awaiting its journey to Florida.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ken Lubas / Los Angeles Times

May 7, 1992: Three replicas of the Christopher Columbus ships, from left, the Pinta, the Niña and the Santa Maria, sail nearby as the space shuttle Endeavour sits on a launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.


May 11, 1992: Endeavour astronaut Pierre J. Thuot approaches the Intelsat VI communications satellite (out of frame). After this attempt failed to grab the 4.5-ton satellite, Thuot and two other crew members corralled it two days later and prepared it for release into space.


May 13, 1992: From left, astronauts Richard J. Hieb, Thomas D. Akers and Pierre J. Thuot hold onto the 4.5-ton Intelsat VI communications satellite after finally capturing it.


Sep. 12, 1992: Endeavour launches from Kennedy Space Center in Florida with seven astronauts aboard, including the first married couple and the first black woman in space.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Thom Baur / Associated Press

Dec. 9, 1993: Astronaut F. Story Musgrave, anchored on the end of Endeavour's Remote Manipulator System arm, prepares to be elevated to the top of the Hubble Space Telescope to install protective covers.


Apr. 20, 1994: Endeavour touches down at Edwards Air Force Base after an 11-day mission. The shuttle landing was made at Edwards because of bad weather in Florida.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Richard Derk / Los Angeles Times

October 1994: From left, crew members Daniel W. Bursch, Steven L. Smith and Thomas D. Jones prepare for sleep time in bunk beds aboard the Endeavour.


Sept. 30-Oct. 11, 1994: This time-exposure image of Aurora Australis, or the Southern Lights, was taken from aboard Endeavour.

Sep. 30, 1994: The Kliuchevskoi volcano on Russia's Kamchatka peninsula is photographed from Endeavour.


Sep. 9, 1995: A video image taken from Endeavour shows the shuttle's tail and robot arm with Hurricane Luis in the background over the Atlantic Ocean.


Jan. 10, 1996: A flock of birds takes flight as Endeavour prepares for launch at Kennedy Space Center.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Thom Baur / Associated Press

May 19, 1996: Endeavour lifts off from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

Jan. 20, 1996: Endeavour glides towards a landing on Kennedy Space Center's Runway 15.


Dec. 1998: The crew of Space Shuttle Mission STS-88 on Endeavour begins construction of the International Space Station, joining the U.S.-built Unity node to the Russian-built Zarya module. The crew carried a large-format IMAX camera, from which this picture was taken.


Dec. 5, 2001: Endeavour launches while an F-15 Eagle from the 125th Fighter Wing, Jacksonville, Fla., ensures its safety.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: TSgt Shaun Withers / USAF

Dec. 2001: STS-108 mission commander Dominic L. Gorie, left, and pilot Mark E. Kelly are photographed with a Navy wings patch on the aft flight deck of Endeavour.


Nov. 25, 2002: Endeavour flies over New Zealand as it approaches the International Space Station for docking.


Aug. 13, 2007: After delivery by Endeavour, the Materials International Space Station Experiment sits on the exterior of the station. MISSE collects information on how different materials weather in the environment of space.


Dec. 10, 2008: Endeavour, mounted atop its modified Boeing 747 carrier, flies over California's Mojave Desert on its way back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida after completing the STS-126 mission.


July 21, 2008: Inside Orbiter Processing Facility 2 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, United Space Alliance technicians secure the U.S. flag in space shuttle Endeavour's payload bay. Endeavour was to deliver a multi-purpose logistics module to the International Space Station on its STS-126 mission.


Sep. 19, 2008: Under a waning full moon at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Endeavour makes its way to the launch pad atop the mobile launcher platform and massive crawler-transporter.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Dimitri Gerondidakis / NASA

Sept. 20, 2008: The shuttle Atlantis (foreground) sits on Launch Pad A and Endeavour on Launch Pad B (above) at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. For the first time since July 2001, two shuttles were on the launch pads at the same time. Endeavour was on standby in the event a rescue mission was necessary for Atlantis' mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.


Feb. 19, 2010: Endeavour stands out against a terrestrial background in this photo taken by an Expedition 22 crew member on the International Space Station soon after the shuttle undocked from the space station and began to move away.


Feb. 9, 2010: Endeavour is silhouetted against Earth's horizon prior to docking with the International Space Station in this NASA handout image taken by an Expedition 22 crew member.


Feb. 19, 2010: NASA astronaut George Zamka, STS-130 commander, is pictured in a window of the newly-installed Cupola of the International Space Station while Endeavour remains docked with the station.


May 28, 2011: Backdropped by a nighttime view of the Earth and the starry sky, Endeavour is seen docked at the International Space Station.


May 23, 2011: This image of the International Space Station and the docked Endeavour -- at top of station -- flying at an altitude of approximately 220 miles, was taken by Expedition 27 crew member Paolo Nespoli from the Soyuz TMA-20 following its undocking. Nespoli's pictures are the first taken of a shuttle docked to the station from the perspective of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.


Apr. 28, 2011: The space shuttle Endeavour is seen on launch pad 39a as a storm passes by before the rollback of the Rotating Service Structure at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.


May 26, 2011: The six member crew of Endeavour's final mission poses for an STS-134 in-flight crew portrait in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo lab on the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is near Kibo's ceiling in upper center. Clockwise from the commander are NASA astronauts Greg Chamitoff and Andrew Feustel, European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori, and NASA astronaut Michael Fincke, all mission specialists, and NASA astronaut Greg H. Johnson, pilot.


June 1, 2011: Endeavour lands for the final time.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Tom Farrar/Tony Gray / NASA

June 1, 2011: Endeavour makes its final landing at the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Fla., completing a 16-day mission to outfit the International Space Station. Endeavour spent 299 days in space and traveled more than 122.8 million miles during its 25 flights. It launched on its first mission on May 7, 1992.


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Space shuttle Endeavour 1991-2012

Built to replace the space shuttle Challenger, Endeavour, first launched on May 7, 1992, completed 25 flights until retirement in 2011. The decommissioned Endeavour is being transferred to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

In an Aug. 9, 2012, story, Times staff writer Kate Mather reported:

In its 25 missions spanning nearly two decades, the space shuttle Endeavour circled the Earth more than 4,600 times, spending a total of 299 days in space.

It carried the crews that assembled the first U.S. component of the International Space Station, and would go on to dock at the station a dozen times. By the time Endeavour completed its last mission a year ago, the shuttle had logged nearly 123 million miles beyond Earth.
But the shuttle’s final journey — a measly 12 miles — might just be its most memorable.

Officials Wednesday unveiled some of the details surrounding the 170,000-pound shuttle’s carefully coordinated move from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to its permanent home at the California Science Center in Exposition Park. After arriving at LAX on the back of a Boeing 747, the shuttle will make a two-day trek through the streets of Los Angeles, the first time a space shuttle has been moved through the heart of a city.

“In six weeks, Endeavour is coming back home to California,” California Science Center president Jeffrey Rudolph said at a news conference Wednesday. “This will mark the first, last and only time a space shuttle will travel through 12 miles of urban public streets. It’s not only one of the biggest objects transported down city streets, it’s an irreplaceable national treasure.”

Additional From the Archive space shuttle galleries:


PHOTOS: Endeavour rolls through streets of L.A. | Endeavour’s Southland flyover | Endeavour 1991-2012

Time-lapse videos: Endeavour on the streets of L.A.Endeavour detached from Boeing 747

Back story on our photo of Endeavour and the Hollywood sign

Zoomable high-resolution image of Endeavour

PANORAMAS: Endeavour in the United hangar | Endeavour arrives in L.A. | Inside the Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft

PHOTOS: Space shuttle Enterprise | Space shuttle Columbia | Space shuttle Challenger

Order space shuttle Endeavour prints

Complete coverage


  1. September 17, 2012, 12:53 pm

    Beautiful photographs !

  2. September 23, 2012, 4:31 pm

    I was on Stage 2 at Disney on Friday. All of a sudden the 1st AD shouted, "Shuttle! Let's go!"
    We all streamed outside and saw it pass. Then she banked hard, and came right over us and Universal.
    I could only raise my open hands over my head and say to myself, "Yeah."
    Let's give more money to NASA and less to the military.

    By: chucksnuc

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