One week ago today the Space Shuttle Endeavour touched down in Houston, Texas for a brief layover before departing to it’s final destination in Los Angeles, California. Houston is commonly known as Space City for it is home to Johnson Space Center and Mission Control. Unfortunately, Houston will not get one of the shuttles to display. Since this will might be the closest I will ever get to a space shuttle I decided to take the afternoon off from work to go see it.
The traffic getting into Ellington Field, where Endeavour was waiting, wasn’t horrible when I got there. The parking was first come first served and pretty much at your own risk. There was no one advising drivers were to get the best parking. I decided to park in the first area that I saw and just walk. The walk wasn’t too bad, but further than I had anticipated. I could see Endeavour and the plane that brought her here from Highway 3, but in reality it wasn’t that close. After the approximately 30 minute walk to the entrance gate onto the tarmac there she stood. I was amazed how the shuttle was and the plane she was strapped to even larger. There were hundreds of people around looking in awe of the site before our eyes. Of course everyone was also taking their time to take some photos in front of the shuttle. I also took some as well.
For some reason, this event seemed somewhat like a wake. Many people were just sitting around looking at the shuttle as if they would never see it again. Similar to being at someone’s funeral. Just not believing that this thing will be gone in a matter of hours. I too just kept walking around and taking photos from various angles using various lenses.
The tables set up by NASA for water and a make shift gift shop showed just how many curious onlookers had made their way to Ellington Field so far that day. It was about 2 pm when I stepped on the tarmac. By that time all the water stations were empty and the gift shop was practically sold out of everything for sale..even bottled water. I managed to buy a NASA sticker and a commemorative patch for the shuttle program.
According to a note that the Houston Chronicle science blogger received from the Johnson Space Center, it was estimated that between 100,000 and 200,000 people came out to see Endeavour at Ellington Field. I am proud to be one of the many!