Nearly 20,000 people either walked, drove, hopped on public transportation or rode their bikes to NASA Ames Research Center Friday morning to watch Space Shuttle Endeavour flyover Moffett Field.
Oh, and what a sight!
At around 10:37 a.m. Endeavour—originally expected to flyover the runway—surprised the packed crowd and appeared just behind Hangar One. It whisked by at about 200 feet and quickly made its way over Sunnyvale before heading toward Santa Cruz, Monterey and then to its final destination in Los Angeles.
"It was wonderful," said Matthew Duarenos, 14, from San Jose, who along with his brother took the day off from school. Their dad brought them. "It's a once in a lifetime experience."
One family—dad, mom and two boys—came from the Los Gatos Hills for the viewing party. They took the VTA lightrail to the Middlefield Station and walked the rest of the way in arriving about 8:30 a.m.
"In 30 years of the space shuttle program and this being the last flight for Endeavour, it was cool to see it," said Ken Forbord, 46. "I was glad the kids because if we ever go down to see Endeavour in Los Angeles one day, I can show them a picture of them here, watching it."
Prior to Endeavour's arrival, several speakers explained to those gathered the close ties of Ames Research Center with the space shuttle program.
"Does NASA rock or what? We are driving a nuclear powered SUV on Mars today, right now!," said Steve Robinson, a professor at UC Davis and a former astronaut who logged 48 days in space and more than 20 hours of spacewalking, about the Curiosity Rover.
"Just to see a 747 airliner fly down the runway with its gear up at 200 feet is a pretty special thing and the fact that it's got the most incredible flying machine ever designed on its back is even more amazing."
Don't miss a thing in Mountain View!