Last Friday the people of LA did something they rarely do (unless the Lakers win in the playoffs), they came together and acted excited about something. All morning our office was aflutter with talk of the Endeavour Space Shuttle flying over. For those of you who don’t know the Endeavour was the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger, which was destroyed 73 seconds after its launch on January 28, 1986. The Endeavour has been taking on missions to space since 1987 until it was decommissioned in May 2011. Since then it has been making the rounds across the U.S., leaving awed crowds in its wake.
Alright back to my story. I work in Downtown LA and because of how it’s built, everything you do needs to be vertical. So at precisely 11:20 (the shuttle was scheduled to fly over at 11:30) the entire office headed up to the roof. Nearly jumping up and down with glee we all looked to the sky just waiting to see Endeavour fly above us. Unfortunately Endeavour was running a little late and if you don’t know LA has been experiencing extreme heat the past few months, so after a few minutes we were all hiding in the rare patches of shade we could find.
While we were waiting on the tardy shuttle we noticed something unexpected and amazing. All across the Downtown LA skyline, people just like us were atop of their roofs. You could see hoards of people on the LA Times building, City Hall, apartment buildings, hotels and helipads. People just knew seeing Endeavour fly over was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Finally the time arrived and someone spotted it, a space shuttle mounted atop a carrier aircraft followed by two little jets. Because of the sun it was hard to grab pictures that truly captured how close and awe-inspiring the fly over truly was, but it was so cool! (Thanks to D, for grabbing these shots, because my phone sucks and died)
Over the years NASA and the space program have faded from the public eye and has basically just stopped existing. But the intrique of space is not forgotten, just like the first Moon landing this event brought people together and captured our imagination and I hope that in the future we once again come together to experience something awe-inspiring.