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Bird, plane, or space shuttle?

Unexpected visitor
Unexpected visitor
Julie Kennedy

Students at El Monte Elementary School in Mt. Diablo Unified School District, had a surprise on the playground on Friday morning at 10:10 a.m. when the Space Shuttle Endeavour flew overhead. Some students were so excited they ran to the fence along the outer edge of the playground, and started to climb upwards. Were they thinking they could reach out and touch the shuttle? Or did they think they could get a better view?

Julie Kennedy, El Monte teacher, was on yard duty and able to swiftly catch a shot of the historic shuttle. The camera was not, however, able to capture the squeals of excitement and sheer madness as students darted about, trying to hold onto the moment, as the monumental shuttle passed just overhead. Several especially excited students did indeed begin to climb the fence, but were quickly shooed back down by another yard duty and principal Christina Boman, who were nearby.

The NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour has left earth 25 times, logging 123 million miles between 1992 and 2011. The most recent venture will be its last, as it will be on display in the California Science Center in Los Angeles, on October 30th. The final mission of the Endeavour started with a 3 day cross country trip from Florida. After 2 stopovers in Texas, it had a flyover of Tucson, Arizona to honor its last commander, Mark Kelly.

The Endeavour gave Californians a thrill as thousands were witness to this final flight. After taking off from Edwards Airforce Base in the Mojave Desert, it made its way over the Central Valley into Sacramento and then over the Bay Area. The victory laps included low flying views over the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, Moffett Field, and NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, where nearly 20,000 were gathered to see the view.

The final resting place in Southern California is fitting, as the Space Shuttle Endeavour was built and assembled there. The California Science Center was awarded the shuttle by NASA last year.