I have been fascinated by space craft and space travel since childhood. So it was a hard kick that I gave myself in 2011 when I first learned that the Space Shuttle program had been terminated. I was born in Los Angeles (and begrudgingly still live here), which is not all that far from Edwards AFB, and the shuttles often landed here when the weather was too poor to land in Florida. 30 years of opportunities that I took for granted and assumed would always be there for me. I had prepared to drive out to Edwards AFB for either Thursday’s landing or Friday’s takeoff, but was relieved to learn that I wouldn’t have to drive anywhere: Endeavour was going to be flying over my town, Long Beach, California!
Instead of getting in a car, burning carbon, and fighting hideous Friday traffic in LA, I pedaled to a local destination in a matter of minutes and joined thousands of other patriots and admirers who came to bid Endeavour adieu. The Queen Mary saw it first and let out a horn blast as the shuttle approached Long Beach from the south. The crowd then grew with excitement, applause, and cheers as Endeavour flew by and headed toward LAX just to the north. It was a riveting, powerful, and sad experience all at once. My images wouldn’t get any better from here, so I simply lowered the camera, welled up inside, and said goodbye.
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