Update: If you’re looking for photos from Endeavour’s trip through the LA streets in October, I’ve got those too.

And that’s it. The final flight of the space shuttle has come to an end.

The last shuttle landing I saw was Discovery in 1988. My family went out to Edwards Air Force Base to watch it land. I posted a photo essay on the event last summer when the shuttle flights stopped.

The 1988 landing was a normal Shuttle landing. It landed under its own power, from orbit, and it was all business. We civilians camped out all night on a dry lake bed, kept outside a fence so far away from the landing strip we could barely see the shuttle without binoculars.

This time it was being carried by an airplane, from another airport. Safety wasn’t any more of an issue than a normal flight, so they landed at a regular airport. (Though it was escorted by military aircraft.) And since it was the last-ever shuttle flight, there was a bit of showmanship to the flight plan: Continue reading

Here’s our first view of the island of Hawai‘i, as our plane approached on Sunday morning, April 3. Snow-capped Mauna Kea is rising out of the clouds, with Mauna Loa behind it.

View of Mauna Kea from the plane

A week later, we spent Sunday evening waiting for our flight out of Kona Airport. (After a disastrous experience at LAX in which we arrived 2 hours ahead and got to the gate with maybe 15 minutes to spare, we showed up early for the flight home. But Kona’s much smaller and better organized, so it took us maybe 15 minutes to check in. There wasn’t even a line to go through security!)

Kona airport at night

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on our Hawaiian vacation. I’m sorry it took so long to finish it, but hey, I managed (just barely) to beat the 6-month marker!