The Space Shuttle Endeavour made it’s historic final tour through California today. It was going to travel from Los Angeles to Sacramento. Then, it would head for the San Francisco Bay Area. I was one of the many who hoped to catch a glimpse of Endeavour as it passed over.
I woke up on time this morning just so I’d be ready. You’d think I was a kid on Christmas! While I was in bed, I popped up the NASA live feed and waited to see Endeavour take off from Los Angeles. At 8:15, it reached for the skies.
It was supposed to pass over the Bay Area around 9:30. I took care of the dog, finished getting dressed, and had breakfast. I had the live feed on, but they were showing the International Space Station. Interesting, but not what I wanted!
Around 9:20, my Mom and parked ourselves in the backyard. The shuttle was supposed to pass between Sacramento to Hayward to Oakland around 9:30. We’re right in the middle, so we had a good chance of seeing it–even if it was a dot on the horizon.
We had a couple of close calls. One plane made a long trail in the distance. Several South West Airlines jets flew by. No Space Shuttle.
Around 10 am, we started to worry that we missed it. Maybe the route had changed. The live feed switched to a speech by Barack Obama and then one by Paul Ryan. Did it already pass over us and we missed it?
A minute or two later, the feed came back up. The shuttle had made an unexpected pass over Folsom and was about a half hour off schedule. Folsom was closer to Sacramento than it was to us, so we still had some time.
Around 10:15 I really needed some water. I ran inside and just as I got to the sliding door, my Mom yelled “I hear something.” I got outside and started scanning the sky. About a minute later, we could see it off in the distance. And, then before we knew it Endeavour was over our neighborhood and right over our heads!
Our moment was brief. Endeavour and its chaperone were heading over the front fence and out of view. Within 20 seconds, it was gone. Cheering fans in Oakland would soon get to see what they were waiting for.
My pants are wet from sitting on wet seat cushions. The arthritis in my ankles is talking back to me because I bounced up and down too many times. The whole thing lasted less than 30 seconds. Was it worth it? Heck yeah! It’s not often you get to be a part of history.
I grew up in the Space Age. As a child, I saw Neil Armstrong walk on the moon from my TV screen. I remember such pride when Sally Ride became the first female astronaut. I heard about the Challenger explosion on the radio first thing in the morning–on my birthday. I watched the space race turn into international cooperation. A part of our history is ending, but a new chapter for NASA will unfold. Who knows where it will lead us?
I wouldn’t have missed this for the world!
I hope many of you got to see it too!
Space Shuttle Endeavour passing through the Golden Gate Bridge:
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com