45th Space Wing Support to help deliver Endeavour to L.A.
By Detachment 3, 45th Operations Group
/ Published September 14, 2012
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- In 1987, Congress approved the construction of the fifth Space Shuttle orbiter, Endeavour (OV-105), to replace Challenger. Endeavour, named after the first ship commanded by 18th century British explorer James Cook, arrived at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility May 7, 1991, on top of NASA's modified 747 Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
The agency's newest orbiter began flight operations in 1992 on mission STS-49, the Intelsat VI repair mission. After flying 25 successful missions, including STS 134, its final mission, Endeavour will fly the final mission of the Space Shuttle Program Sept. 17, 2012.
Endeavour, once again on top of the SCA, will depart KSC for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), to be displayed at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. NASA is planning to deliver the shuttle Sept. 20.
Endeavour's cross-country trip will include stops in Houston and El Paso, Texas, and Edwards AFB, Calif. The final leg will last approximately 4.5 hours, including approximately one hour fly around of the L.A. basin.
In similar fashion to Discovery and Enterprise, NASA expects record crowds to greet Endeavour upon its arrival at LAX, and the California Science Center has a full schedule of events to welcome its new vehicle.
To make this once in a lifetime event more memorable, the California Science Center requested NASA fly the shuttle over many landmark locations in California, including a fly-over of the state capital, the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge, and around the L.A. basin.
As with every shuttle ferry flight, personnel from Patrick AFB are key members of the support team to make this event happen. Lt. Col. Tony Lombardi and Lt. Col. James Boguslawski, both from Detachment 3, 45th Operations Group, will accompany the NASA team aboard the pathfinder aircraft and have coordinated with multiple DOD bases to provide emergency divert support if required.
During the ferry flight, Det. 3 personnel will provide the interface between the NASA team and the DOD support personnel at the en route stops. In addition to the Det. 3 personnel, Kathy Winters and Mike McAleenan from the 45th Weather Squadron will also support the ferry flight and fly aboard the pathfinder. They will brief the aircrews and provide weather support while at the en route stops.
With the Space Shuttle Discovery delivered to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., the test article Enterprise delivered to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York, and the Space Shuttle Atlantis remaining at KSC, all four Space shuttles will have reached their final destinations once Endeavour is off-loaded in L.A.. Without the Space Shuttles, the world would not have the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and a multitude of scientific breakthroughs. After 133 successful missions, starting April 12th, 1981, and ending July 21, 2011, the space shuttles are now retired, officially marking the end of a very successful NASA program.