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UPDATED: 8 a.m.:
The Space Shuttle Endeavour's once-in-a-lifetime flight over the Bay Area on Friday morning has been pushed back an hour to give more time for fog to burn off, NASA Ames officials said today.
The shuttle, which will piggyback on a specially modified Boeing 747, is set to make a low-altitude pass over the Bay Area around 9:30 a.m. after taking off around 8:15 a.m. from Edwards Air Force Base near Los Angeles where it landed this afternoon.
Before making it to the Bay Area and completing the final leg of its flyover, the Endeavour will pass by Palmdale, Lancaster, Rosamond and Mojave in Southern California and then head north to Sacramento, where the shuttle will fly near the California State Capitol.
Anytime after 9:30 a.m. local viewers should look toward the Golden Gate Bridge where thousands are expected to come out and watch the historic flyover, although an hour later than initially planned.
NASA Ames officials tweeted at 4 p.m. today that the shuttle
takeoff Friday would be delayed one hour to "give us a better chance of
having the fog burn off."
The slight schedule delay was decided by NASA, the California Science Center, and the Federal Aviation Administration, officials said.
Ames officials suggested various vantage points to catch a glimpse of the orbiter, including:
- the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito
- Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland
- the Exploratorium in San Francisco
- the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley
- the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Exploratorium spokeswoman Stacy Martin said no specific shuttle events are planned at the science museum near the Golden Gate Bridge, but "we're just encouraging people that Crissy Field is probably one of the best views of the flyover."
After 10:30 a.m., the Endeavour is scheduled make a pass as low as 1,500 feet above the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in Mountain View.
Bay Area residents are invited to view the passage at Moffett Field. The gates will open to the public at 6 a.m. to accommodate early arrivals, and Ames officials expect as many as 8,000 spectators to show up to the free event.
In the East Bay, the Chabot Space and Science Center in the Oakland Hills will open its doors at 8 a.m. for a viewing party and various space shuttle-related activities
NASA Ames officials said a flyover closer to the East Bay is possible with sightings likely over Oakland.
The Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito is closed this week for scheduled maintenance, museum spokeswoman Jennifer Caleshu said, but the museum parking lot and Fort Baker on the Marin County side of the Golden Gate Bridge will be open to the public with prime viewing spots.
The museum is located at 577 McReynolds Road in Sausalito.
Caleshu said the waterfront location will likely fill up fast with spectators.
After the Bay Area visit, the aircraft will travel further south past Monterey onto Vandenberg Air Force Base in San Luis Obispo before landing at Los Angeles International Airport around noon.
After weather delayed Endeavour’s departure from Florida for two days, NASA gave the go-ahead for a Wednesday take-off, the first leg of the highly anticipated farewell tour that has crowds waiting for a glimpse from Mississippi to Houston to California.
And why not? It’s a sight that will be hard to forget: the last space shuttle, securely piggybacked onto a modified Boeing 747 jet, flying low over the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Area and the state Capitol building, at 1,500 feet.
All the hallmarks of a happening are showing. Peninsula Bike Party announced a Space Shuttle Bike Ride, meeting early at the Mountain View Caltrain Station to ride over Moffett Field Friday morning, vehicle passes in hand. The Geek Club sent out word on meetup.com. A middle school in Elk Grove, the Sacramento Bee reported, will send 40 students to watch the Capitol flyover.
It is the last chance to see the Endeavour in the air. If you never made the trek to Edwards Air Force Base in the Antelope Valley to watch the space shuttle landings in their heyday — the way many in this valley have—it’s hard to describe the excitement. But it’s real.
Endeavour will become a land-bound exhibit in the California Science Center in Los Angeles’ Exposition Park, the latest of the space shuttles to transition to civilian life, on museum duty. Not six months ago, Space Shuttle Discovery thrilled Washington D.C. with its April flyover all over restricted air space before settling in as an exhibit of the National Air and Space Museum.
Tuesday, NASA sent out suggested viewing locations — for maximum photo op possibilities.
But really, wherever you are, try to look up on Friday morning, from the roof of a parking garage, or out in the park.
And wave, even if they can't see you. You'll be glad you did.
-Bay City News contributed to this report
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