Retired space shuttle takes over Los Angeles

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By Devon Everett / Staff Writer

Space: the final frontier… wait, that sounded a bit cliché.

The space shuttle “Endeavor” is being retired after countless years of service.

“Endeavor” has been on 25 missions within its short lifespan of 20 years.

Before its decommission, it went on a tour of the U.S. before it reached its final resting place, the California Museum of Science, in Los Angeles.

A new addition to the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, called the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavor Display Pavillion, was constructed to accommodate the shuttle.

The tour wasn’t exactly a smooth road however, as several trees were cut and power lines and buildings were at risk of getting damaged due to the shuttle’s wingspan of 78 feet.

Still, several people that got to see the shuttle enjoyed its presence, so the rewards outweighed the risks.

I would have enjoyed seeing this myself since I loved science as a child, but I had other obligations. Sounds like I missed out on a once in a lifetime event, but I have a feeling that it would have been interesting for only a short while before I started taking it for granted.

I can’t help but want to see this exhibit for myself, just to get a taste of what people got to see during the shuttle’s tour, but at the same time, I’m not sure it would be as worthwhile an experience.

A few Californians reported their thoughts to “The Atlantic Newspaper” and several people showed a bittersweet enthusiasm toward this once in a lifetime phenomenon.

A person near Edwards Air Force Base reported that he got a shot from the roof of the newly completed Strato-launch Carrier Aircraft assembly building. A round of applause exploded as the shuttle passed. Spectators stuck around for some time after, chatting excitedly about the “Endeavor.”

“It’s my sincere hope that NASA can regain its footing as a pre-eminent research and exploration agency in the near term, serving to inspire the kids of today like they did for me when growing up.,” said the spectator. “Aerospace seems like a cultural backwater these days, almost as if it’s a mature field with all the fun problems already solved.”

The “Atlantic” reader adds, “but we’re just a tiny dot in this universe begging to be explored, the sound barrier is hardly tickled these days.”

Spectators in Los Angeles were also excited to see the shuttle pass over.

“The atmosphere around LAX reminded me of the torch relay just before the 1984 Olympics, an impromptu street carnival,” said another “Atlantic” reader from LA. “Aviation Boulevard was mobbed. The 105 Freeway came to a complete standstill for about one half hour. People gave up honking and stood on their cars to watch.”

According to spectators, the sight was “magnificent and moving.”

There was a grand awe amassing from the “Endeavor’s” return. It’s kind of sad to see it retire and this event would definitely inspire young kids to become astronauts, but for me, it is what it is.

So despite the sheer awe displayed by this “Endeavor,” some people were slightly indifferent on the “Endeavor’s” return. Maybe we’ve just been desensitized to so much that the little things aren’t as impressive. Still, I’m sure that anyone that got to see the shuttle on tour will remember it for a lifetime.

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