Thursday, September 20, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavour's Tucson flyby

9/20/2012, Shuttle Endeavour, Tucson, Arizona
It was wonderful to see the space shuttle Endeavour on the back of a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in the skies over Tucson today!  The Endeavour is headed to California to be retired and put on permanent display.  (click on pics for larger images)
  
The Endeavour has been on a multi day trip from Florida to California and is being flown across some areas that had major roles in the construction or operation of the now retired shuttle program.  Tucson was not on this list, but former shuttle commander and pilot Mark Kelly, the husband of U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords (my former congressional rep for the Tucson area), requested that it do a fly-by over Tucson on its way from New Mexico to California since we were only slightly off its planned route.  Thanks Mark!

 Here it comes, piggy back on its 747 shuttle carrier approaching the University of Arizona area, Santa Catalina Mountains in the background.  For an idea of scale, the wingspan of the 747 is 195 ft (60 m).
9/20/2012, Shuttle Endeavour, Tucson, Arizona

 Flying over the University of Arizona campus...
9/20/2012, Shuttle Endeavour, Tucson, Arizona

They were purposely flying low (about 1500 ft) and doing a few turns so that viewers on the ground could see this particular phase of U.S. space program for the last time in the air.
9/20/2012, Shuttle Endeavour, Tucson, Arizona

9/20/2012, Shuttle Endeavour, Tucson, Arizona

 I like the picture below a lot, but it almost looks like a model instead of the real thing airborne.  For an idea of scale, the 747 shuttle carrier plane is 231 ft long (70.5 m).
9/20/2012, Shuttle Endeavour, Tucson, Arizona

 After the approach, turn across the UofA Campus, another bank and turn, it flew northwest between us and the Tucson mountains on its way to California.  It was very nice for Tucson to be included in the retirement of the Space Shuttle program by way of this overflight.  Great photo op of a piece of U.S. history!
9/20/2012, Shuttle Endeavour, Tucson, Arizona

 Several of my co-workers and I decided to view the shuttle flight from the top of one of the University's parking garages.  While we were waiting for Endeavour's arrival, we noticed this group of students standing on a nearby house.  Probably related, but you can never tell...  ;-)
9/20/2012, Shuttle watchers, Tucson, Arizona

[LINKS: In addition to the Space Shuttle related links included in my blog post above, here is a link that some of my reader's may find useful/interesting: The Congress.gov web site was unveiled September 19th and looks pretty interesting.  I've just begun exploring it, but it looks like a pretty cool way to check on status of bills, who did what, read bill summaries or full contents, etc. etc.  Worth a look.  "The Library of Congress, in collaboration with the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives and the Government Printing Office (GPO), today unveiled Congress.gov, a new public beta site for accessing free, fact-based legislative information. Congress.gov features platform mobility, comprehensive information retrieval and user-friendly presentation." ]

4 comments:

  1. These are quite something Warren, how lucky you were to have the Tucson flyover, and witness the end of an era, and an event never to happen again.

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