Friday, September 21, 2012

The LAX landing of Endeavour

 A live look with Miranda and Pete


 Pete Freeland, actor, TV host and bona fide rocket scientist, was the man on hand at LAX to field questions from the press. The more than 20 live interviews were scheduled and coordinated by Miranda Spigener, the publicist we happen to share. It was fun getting her exuberant tweets and FB posts as events unfolded.
Freeland (right) in a live interview
with KFI 640 AM Radio
At one point she even attempted to record one of the interviews. Of course, she was using her phone from an unobtrusive distance, so the audio was a wash. But, hey, she was there! You can catch more on her blog at Skirt! Magazine.

My own live look came as the Endeavour, mounted on the 747, passed overhead on its way to nearby Ellington AFB. The greater Houston area was treated to several long, circling flyovers allowing those of us who worked the program from Johnson Space Center - as well as so many other local space fans – to say goodbye to three decades of shuttle history.

Not that we begrudge California a space shuttle. The JPL and the Boeing plant that produced it are out there, after all. But, dang it, the program, not to mention Mission Control, was here at the JSC. Seems like we should be able to say: “Houston, we have a shuttle!” (And since it would be housed where it landed, no tree would be harmed transporting the thing. Just saying.)

But there’s no faulting the reception given the Endeavour by thousands of eager Californians.  A welcome ceremony was held in the United hanger for donors and employees of the California Science Center, NASA, and local foundations.

Endeavour flew its final mission last May (See pictures from space shuttle Endeavour's final mission.) It will spend retirement as the centerpiece of a new space shuttle display at the California Science Center (CSC) in Los Angeles. CSC president Jeffrey Rudolph said that Endeavour's arrival marked the fulfillment of a 20-year dream for the center.

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