Houstonians got one last chance to witness the end of an era in space exploration with Endeavour, the youngest in the shuttle fleet built after the Challenger accident. A two day event in Houston was reduced to just 24 hours because of bad weather in Florida.
Astronaut mission specialist Clayton Anderson was on hand for the landing. He spent 5 months on the ISS when Endeavour docked with supplies in 2007.
“They’re all just magnificently complex vehicles that show what Americans do when they put their mind to it.”
His daughter Sutton was with him. She was amazed at the spectacle that attracted so many people.
“I guess it’s kind of exciting. There’s a lot of people here and it’s kind of overwhelming sometimes.”
Thousands began arriving at Ellington about an hour before the landing. They were able to get as close as a hundred feet. Charlotte Simpson was in awe.
“It was exciting, you know I was amazed to see, how it kind of looked like it’s been in an accident, and then my second thought was, Oh no, it’s been in outer space. So that’s why it looks like it’s kind of like banged up a little bit and stuff. But I’m just truly impressed that it’s been in outer space and now, it’s just a few feet away from me! It’s just amazing.”
The crowd was delighted to witness three flyovers before Endeavour landed. David Yanoshak drove in from Austin to witness history in the making. He too had never been this close.
“This is the closest. I saw Endeavour launch on its final launch, so it’s kind of a full circle experience.”
Hernandez: “Such that you get like, shivers down your spine because of what it represents of the space industry?”
Yanoshak: “Definitely, especially when it was doing its flyovers and even standing here, it’s quite amazing. Sad to see the program’s ended but hoping to see where NASA can go from here.”
Hernandez: “So what do you think about the fact that none of the shuttles are gonna be here in the area that it all started?”
Yanoshak: “I think it’s not quite right. They have three on the east coast and having one on the west coast makes sense, but I think they could spare one on the east coast and bring it to Houston, right in the center. It would make it accessible to many more people.”
Endeavour will be accessible to the public at Ellington Field near NASA Hangar 990 until 9 p.m. this evening. It will then take to air at sunrise tomorrow, headed for Los Angeles where it will be prepped for permanent display.
For videos and more images, visit Last Call: Endeavours’ Visit To Houston blog