Thousands of people lined the San Francisco Bay and packed the bluffs on Friday to catch a glimpse of the Space Shuttle Endeavour gliding over the Golden Gate Bridge during its final pass over Northern California.
The flight was Endeavour’s last before landing in Los Angeles, where it will become a museum showpiece.
In San Francisco, people brought out lawn chairs and sat on the rocks to await Endeavour’s historic flight. The shuttle was scheduled to leave Edwards Air Force Base at 7:15 a.m., but was delayed an hour by fog.
As a speck appeared in the fog above Alcatraz, the crowd erupted with enthusiasm. Endeavour flew past Alcatraz, over the Golden Gate Bridge, then turned around to make another pass above the Golden Gate. It flew at about 1,500 feet, as shouts of “U-S-A!” echoed from the crowd.
For May Fair, a San Francisco resident, the wait was worth it.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” she said. “You just want to take it in.” Fair said she wanted to focus on the moment rather than to try to capture it on camera like hundreds of others.
Endeavour flew 25 missions. It spent 299 days in space and orbited Earth about 4,700 times, totalling nearly 123 million miles.
Tom Sawyer, another San Francisco resident, showed up with lawn chairs to watch Endeavour’s flight, which he described as an American experience.
Leon Springer, who was in the area running an errand, had the chance to stop by the Golden Gate Bridge to film Endeavour passing by.
“Just being here, and the reality of it all, it was an amazing experience,” he said.