The space shuttle Endeavour touched down at Ellington Field outside of Houston on Wednesday, and the masses flocked to see the orbiter that's been part of NASA's fleet since its first flight in 1992. From Houston, Endeavour will ride on top of the specialized Boeing 747 that's carrying it to Los Angeles, where it will be officially retired.
Ars got an up-close look at the space shuttle making its final rounds.Enlarge / Shuttle Endeavour atop Shuttle Carrier Aircraft #1 at Ellington Field, near Houston, on 19 September 2012. Photo by Lee Hutchinson Enlarge / Detail of Endeavour's umbilical ports. These are connected to the Tail Servicing Mast prior to launch and are used to load propellent and provide ground power to the vehicle. Photo by Lee Hutchinson Enlarge / Another shot of Endeavour atop SCA #1. Photo by Lee Hutchinson Enlarge / Closer view of Endeavour's forward section, showing the flight deck and cargo bay door details. Photo by Lee Hutchinson Enlarge / A fuller view of Endeavour and SCA #1. Partially obscured at left are the SCA's twin tails, necessary because of the turbulence created by the shuttle while airborne. Photo by Lee Hutchinson Enlarge / Close view of Endeavour's forward section and flight deck. At full magnification, the caution decals are readable. Each black TPS tile is individually numbered; the numbers are visible but illegible at this distance. Photo by Lee Hutchinson Enlarge / Forward sections of both Endeavour and SCA #1. Photo by Lee Hutchinson Enlarge / Decal details on SCA #1, showing the different payloads ferried by the aircraft. At full resolution, the decals are legible. Photo by Lee Hutchinson Enlarge / Endeavour and SCA #1 illuminated in the warm Texas evening. Sorry about the light pole, but the event was packed and I was shoulder-to-shoulder with people fighting for a position to shoot from! Photo by Lee Hutchinson
Article by Lee Hutchinson (c) Ars Technica - Read full story here.