Space Shuttle Endeavour in a parking lot, seen from the front.

Last month I had the good fortune to watch Endeavour’s landing at LAX from the office building where I work. Today I had the opportunity to see the space shuttle up close while it stopped at a parking lot in Westchester.

When I got to work this morning, the shuttle had already left the airport hangar where it had spent the last month, and was sitting in a parking lot a mile or so away. I didn’t have time to go look at it, but I did have time to climb up to the top of the parking structure and look for it.

Space Shuttle in a STAPLES parking lot, seen from a ways off.

The first thing I spotted was the distinctive tail, and I walked along the top floor until I could see as much of the shuttle as possible. It looked out of place surrounded by trees and a Staples sign, though I couldn’t help thinking, “Space shuttle? Yeah, we’ve got that.” I took a few zoomed pictures with my camera, then one really grainy with my phone for the “now” impact, then headed into the office. Continue reading

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