On the Road and In Your Backyard

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Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!

 

Today, pictures from valued commenter 🐾BillinGlendaleCA.

Space Shuttle Endeavour

When most folk think of the space program, they think of Cape Kennedy or Houston, but Los Angeles was a major contributor to the US effort to get into space. From JPL in La Cañada Flintridge(it’s really not in Pasadena) to production and test facilities throughout the region, Southern California was(and is) vital to the success of the space program. Some of my earliest memories is being at home and hearing a loud rumble and feeling the ground shake and the windows rattle, an earthquake?; nope, it was the testing of the engines for the Apollo missions to the moon(this may be why I’ve often been called a “space case”). So when it came time to retire the Space Shuttle, it was natural that one should be housed here in Los Angeles.

Endeavour was the last shuttle built and was a replacement for Challenger that was lost on launch. It flew 25 times and was supposed to be the last shuttle fight until one more was authorized and Atlantis flew the final Shuttle Mission. Endeavour is housed in a temporary barn like building attached to the California Science Center in Exposition Park south of Downtown Los Angeles and right next to the LA Memorial Coliseum. It is currently displayed in it’s space flight and landing position, however the Science Center is raising funds to permanently house Endeavour on the other side of the Science Center in it’s upright position as though it is about to be launched.

I have linked to an album that contains most of these pictures previously, however I’ve redone the “development” of these photos, so they’re pretty different(I think better).

Endeavour’s last fight.

Taken on 2012-09-21

Glendale, CA

First, this was taken with my cellphone before I had a real camera and one with a zoom lens.

I went out to catch a view of Endeavour as it was carried piggyback on a 747 on it’s way to LAX. It flew by Griffith Observatory and was supposed to fly by JPL before finally landing at LAX. I saw it fly by the Observatory but it was too far away to take a picture with my cell phone and I wasn’t sure of it’s flight path to JPL. So I waited a bit, and then started to walk home. Just as I started home, I heard the sound of a very loud jet engine and looked up to see the bottom of a low flying 747 with Endeavour attached above it. My first picture turned out, badly, this one sort of worked, but the airplane and the shuttle are pretty small as they’re flying off to JPL.

Endeavour’s tires.

Taken on 2016-07-18

California Science Center, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA

Before you see the orbiter, there’s a really good exhibit about Endeavour and Southern California’s contributions to the space program. You can actually touch the tires(of course, I touched the tires).

Hey, there’s Endeavour!

Taken on 2016-07-18

California Science Center, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA

After the exhibits, you go downstairs and leave the Science Center building and enter the tent link building and there’s Endeavour. They had a video playing in the display at the right so I missed the front portion of the orbiter in this shot(I think that’s really bad placement).

The “Business End”.

Taken on 2016-07-18

California Science Center, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA

This is a picture of the primary shuttle engines as well as the thrusters(the two small engines at the top on each side).

An Engine.

Taken on 2016-07-18

California Science Center, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA

This is one of the primary rocket engines detached(it’s a spare) from the orbiter.

Endeavour’s better side.

Taken on 2016-07-18

California Science Center, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA

This picture better shows the shuttle’s nose cone. It was tricky taking pictures of the shuttle because it’s so large(I didn’t have my fisheye lens yet), even with a wide angle lens(I used the 12mm lens that I take Milky Way pictures with). I couldn’t backup much further because they have a gift shop(of course), and I’d end up with pictures of t-shirts along with the shuttle.

External fuel tank.

Taken on 2016-07-18

California Science Center, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA

Being that they eventually(when they raise enough dough) display the shuttle in it’s launch position, you can’t do that without a fuel tank and booster rockets(they don’t have those yet). This is the only external fuel tank in existence since they would not return in one piece.

 

Thank you so much 🐾BillinGlendaleCA, do send us more when you can.

 

Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.

 

One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

20 replies
  1. 1
    opiejeanne says:

    Pretty darn cool, Bill. I’m glad LA got one of them. Seems only right since JPL is nearby and they used to land at Edwards.

  2. 2

    I’d forgotten about the landings at Edwards when I wrote this, I used to hear them especially after I got back here from gradual school. In addition to landing at Edwards, they were originally going to have a second launch site at Vandenburg.

  3. 3
    gene108 says:

    Cool pix. Didn’t realize how scuffed up the shuttle got. I guess from reentry.

  4. 4

    @gene108: That would be my guess as well, reentry is pretty brutal, though I think it has a full set of tiles. You can get a pretty close look at the tiles(from a couple of feet) by looking up at the bottom of the obiter.

  5. 5
    rikyrah says:

    Bill , those pictures were so cool😎😎

  6. 6

    @rikyrah: Thanks. After they opened the Expo Line, it’s really easy to get to the Science Center since there’s a stop right next it.

  7. 7
    Quinerly says:

    Great pictures!

  8. 8
  9. 9
    eclare says:

    Great pictures and history! Remember exactly where I was when I learned Challenger had exploded.

  10. 10

    Thanks.

    Remember exactly where I was when I learned Challenger had exploded.

    I do as well.

  11. 11
    OldDave says:

    Remember exactly where I was when I learned Challenger had exploded.

    In my case, standing on the side of I-95 just south of Palm Bay watching the launch. :-(

  12. 12
    eclare says:

    @OldDave: Oh wow…

  13. 13
    jayboat says:

    Thanks for the pix- I’m going there for sure next time I’m out there.

  14. 14
    Mnemosyne says:

    For once, I think I have a better cell phone picture of something than Bill does, but I’ll have to dig it out of my library. Our offices at the Giant Evil Corporation were right on the flight path between JPL and the Observatory, so I had time to get adjusted and zoom in. And G got a decent video from his old workplace in Glassell Park.

  15. 15
    laura says:

    The piggy-backed plane was truly a sight to behold. It seemed to move so slowly across the sky. Everyone in our office, the office next door and the state building across the street poured out into the parking lot and spontaneous SCIENCE partying ensued.
    Thanks for the rememberies BinG!

  16. 16
    J R in WV says:

    @OldDave:

    Remember exactly where I was when I learned Challenger had exploded.

    In my case, standing on the side of I-95 just south of Palm Bay watching the launch. :-(

    I was watching the video feed. It was distressing to say the least. I don’t know how you were ever able to drive away… I guess you took a while getting yourself back together. I surely did.

    In engineering, managers sometimes need to shut up and listen to the techs. I wish that was lesson learned, but in the real world, only for those managers actually at NASA that day.

  17. 17

    @jayboat: Best part, it’s FREE(there’s a $2 service charge if you get them on-line though). The best time to go is when kids are not in school, since schools like to see the shuttle on field trips.

  18. 18

    @Mnemosyne: In fairness, my view of it’s approach was obstructed to the south. I really didn’t know it was there until it was almost literally on top of me. I had to turn the camera app on and then get my finger out of the way of the lens…

  19. 19

    @laura: You’re welcome, it was the first time I ever saw the shuttle, though I’d heard it coming into Edwards quite a few times.

  20. 20

    @J R in WV: I’ve been in that situation, fortunately it was just money lost.

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