Space shuttle Endeavour takes flight over Berkeley

Tony Zhou/Staff

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The space shuttle Endeavour took off for one last trip as it flew over the skies of Berkeley Friday morning in anticipation of its permanent installation at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Strapped to a Boeing 747, the shuttle flew into the Bay Area at approximately 10:15 a.m. and made two passes over the Golden Gate Bridge before making its way down into Southern California.

Students and staff on campus craned their necks skyward, hoping to catch a glimpse of the shuttle, while some crowded the roofs of buildings like Evans and McCone halls.

UC Berkeley junior and mechanical engineering student Ben Butler traveled with his housemates up to Grizzly Peak in order to get a better view of the passing shuttle.

“I thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see a space shuttle on the back of a 747, flying 1,500 feet above Berkeley,” he said. “It was cool and very unique. Seeing something that was 30 years in the making is a pretty big deal — it’s not your everyday plane.”

NASA said the Northern California flyover was meant to commemorate the contributions that the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley has made to the Space Shuttle program, according to a NASA press release.

In service since 1992, the space shuttle Endeavour flew its last mission on May 16, 2011, after president George W. Bush announced the retirement of the Space Shuttle program in 2004.

Contact Andy Nguyen at [email protected].