Space Shuttle Endeavour flies over of Presidio of Monterey
September 21, 2012
- Service members view historic flight
- NASA's shuttle fleet retired last year after three decades of flight
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - For about an hour, Monterey spectators anxiously awaited the arrival of Space Shuttle Endeavour, which was supposed to fly over the Monterey Bay Aquarium before heading to Los Angeles where it will go on display in a museum next month.
However, when the shuttle finally appeared about 10:55 a.m., Sept. 21, it was quite a surprise to see the shuttle head not down the coast, but toward the Presidio.
The shuttle fly-over was part of an aerial tour around California landmarks, which included the state Capitol and Golden Gate Bridge before heading down the coast past Monterey Bay.
Service members and civilians around the Presidio could be seen, beginning at least an hour in advance, stepping outside their buildings to determine if the famous Monterey Bay fog would settle in or burn off.
Finally, about 15 minutes before the shuttle's arrival, the sun began to look like it would win the battle.
As spectators followed Twitter updates of shuttle sightings, more and more people began showing up outside, including at least two dozen people on top of the Presidio's Munakata Hall, which provided a nearly unobscured view of the bay.
Even for those people expecting to see the shuttle, there was obvious surprise: It was low and it looked like it was headed straight for the Presidio.
Over at Einstein Brothers Bagels, patrons and other people rushed to the windows and lined the boardwalk.
Two aircraft escorted the shuttle, which was strapped to the back of a modified Boeing 747, as it flew over the Presidio.
All traffic seemed to cease as people stopped their cars and whipped out cell phones to take pictures.
Even as the fly-over began, not everyone realized what was happening. It finally dawned on service members walking up the hill from Khalil Hall that the sergeant who was yelling "Turn around!" was referring to them. Fortunately, it wasn't too late and they turned just in time; however, while it was slow and it was low, it was also all too quickly gone.