Shuttle to buzz Stennis during retirement flight

HANCOCK COUNTY — Space Shuttle Endeavour, headed for retirement in California, is scheduled to perform low flyovers — as low as 1,500 feet — as it passes NASA facilities in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Stennis Space Center tested the orbiter’s main engines. Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans is where the shuttle’s iconic orange external fuel tank was constructed.

The flyovers, weather permitting, will take place next Monday after Endeavour leaves Kennedy Space Center in Florida heading west.

Stennis spokesman Paul Foerman tells the Sun Herald the center is not inviting the public to watch, but people interested in seeing the shuttle can go to Infinity Science Center and purchase a tour ticket. The bus tour will stop in a place where the Endeavour can be seen. Infinity Science Center is just off the interchange of Interstate 10 and Mississippi Exit 2 South, next to the Welcome Center.

Stennis is inviting its employees to watch the final flight.

“Our internal plan is to have employees come out, maybe have a banner that says ‘Go Endeavour,’ something to wish them well on their way to California,” Foerman said.

Endeavour also will fly over parts of Houston, Clear Lake and Galveston in Texas before landing at Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center. It will remain there until Sept. 19, when it will continue the journey. It is expected to arrive in Los Angeles Sept. 20.

From there, Endeavour will depart in October on a two-day 12-mile road trip to the California Science Center.

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