PHOTOS: Space Shuttle Endeavour Thrills the Crowd

Patch photographer Stuart Nafey documented the once-in-a-lifetime flight over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Hundreds of people cheered at San Francisco's Crissy Field Friday morning as the Space Shuttle Endeavour made a once-in-a-lifetime flight over the Golden Gate Bridge.

The shuttle, piggybacking on a specially modified Boeing 747, made a low-altitude pass over the bridge at about 10:15 a.m. after taking off from Edwards Air Force Base near Los Angeles. The Endeavour flew over Sacramento before coming to the Bay Area and passing over San Francisco, and the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in Mountain View. Both were locations of large watch parties. 

The anticipation was high among the photographers standing at the Warming Hut pier at Fort Point in San Francisco. The shuttle was first sighted over the East Bay. We watched it circle over Tiburon and disappear behind the Marin Headlands. When it appeared over the hills behind the Golden Gate Bridge, the cameras started clicking.

Everyone followed the progress of the Space Shuttle Endeavour on their cell phones as it approached the Bay Area.

The Endeavour circled around for a second time flying directly over the Golden Gate Bridge to the applause of everyone without a camera in their hands. High fives all around ended the day.

The Endeavour will eventually end up back in Southern California at the California Science Museum in Los Angeles at a display opening on Oct. 30, but Tim Hammock, 49, of Pacifica, said he thought it should be taken to air shows around the country. "People would come out in droves," Hammock said. "It was awesome, I've wanted to see that forever."

Following its Bay Area visit, the shuttle was also planning to pass the Monterey Peninsula and near San Luis Obispo before landing at Los Angeles International Airport around noon. Named for the first ship commanded by 18th-century British explorer James Cook, the Endeavour first went into space in 1992 and was decommissioned by NASA last year.

— Additional reporting by Bay City News


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