It might not have involved outer space, but the shuttle Endeavour's final ride was undeniably epic. Photographer Scott Andrews shot this stop-action video that conveys the amazing complexity of Endeavour's ultimate trip: a journey from Florida's Kennedy Space Station to the California Science Center (CSC) in Los Angeles. What was estimated to be a 36-hour jaunt for the shuttle turned into a lengthy four-day trip, all of it captured by Andrews and his son, Philip Scott. To create the 6-minute-21-second video, Andrews sorted through more than 350,000 frames - that's 500 hours - of footage.
Transporting the Endeavour involved both a piggyback flight on a heavy-lift 747 as well as an excruciating journey along 12 miles of Los Angeles city streets - no small feat for a space craft with a 78-foot wingspan and 58-foot-high tail. The video begins with loading the shuttle onto the 747 at Florida's Kennedy Space Station, takes viewers to the unstacking of the plane at Los Angeles Airport, then follows the shuttle's crawl through Los Angeles.
In an era where no manned American space flights are occurring (the last was in 2011) and may not occur again, many saw the retiring of Endeavour as a sorrowful symbol. Perhaps this triumphant video will inspire them to feel otherwise. As Time magazine's editor-at-large Jeffrey Kluger writes, "The video record that resulted from all this effort has helped turn what plenty of people in the space industry viewed as a funeral procession into something of a grand promenade."
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