For the Edwards community who has been actively involved in NASA‘s Space Shuttle program since flight testing began in the 1970′s, it was a bittersweet day when Space Shuttle Endeavour arrived one last time Sept. 20, piggy-backed on NASA’s Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
When the SCA departed the following morning to deliver Space Shuttle Endeavour to the California Science Center in Los Angeles, Calif., it was an appropriate ending to an epic chapter in American and aviation history that happens to be very personal for so many at Edwards.
While Team Edwards gathered around the base to watch the historic arrival and takeoff, unaccompanied airmen living in the dorms and family members of deployed spouses had the rare opportunity to get up close to the SCA and Space Shuttle Endeavour.
“I enjoyed being a part of something bigger than me, to look up at something that was actually in space and realize the countless hours and effort that went into putting that in motion. That’s what really moved me,” said airman Michael Day, 412th Communications Squadron. “It was cool to see such an iconic piece of history.”
For the young airman, the opportunity to see Space Shuttle Endeavour up close reminded Day of how he was inspired as a child watching the space shuttle with his family.
“I remember growing up and watching various shuttle take offs and landings with my grandma and wanting to do that. She always told me to do my best and I can be whatever it is I wanted to be; even an astronaut,” said Day.
Just as Airman Day continues to be captivated by the shuttle program, people from all over the world have marveled at the country’s space program from 1981 to 2011.
While the world looked on in amazement, the Edwards community continued working with NASA to flight test the space shuttle and subsequently functioned as a critical support system when Edwards was picked as the primary alternate landing site.