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Gorgeous Photos from Space Shuttle Endeavour's Southwest Road Trip

The best photos of Endeavour's last ride.

by Derek Mead
Sep 20 2012, 7:05pm
Above image via NASA

Space shuttle Endeavour is on some sort of rockstar tour of the Southwest right now, with stops and flyovers in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and now California. It’s a wonderful chance for NASA to showcase the beauty of one of its most enduring technological marvels — even if it did only run on 1 megabyte of RAM — while also showing the bean counters in Washington that a whole lot of Americans really love the space program. As part of that showcasing effort, NASA has opened up its Endeavour Flickr pool to allow average Joes to send in their own shots of some of the last flights Endeavour will take in its rather goofy-looking position atop NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. There are a lot of gems in the pool, but here are some of my recent favorites.

This shot of Endeavour flying over Houston by Sheri Locke is gorgeous. Click on it to blow it up to wallpaper size. From nasa hq photo.

A nice close-up of Endeavour’s nose, by allison_b216.

I don’t often care for the super-warm look, but it works nicely with the shuttle and 747 combo, which really are pretty old pieces of technology. It’s also cool how NASA let people out on the tarmac in Houston to get up close. This one’s also by allison_b216.

Only when it’s on top of a 747 and dwarfing a chase plane do you realize just how big the shuttle actually is. From nasa hq photo.

A well-lit, kinda moody shot showing Endeavour’s scorched heat shield tiles. From boggsy333-1.

One thing I’ve always found fascinating about shuttle flights is the giant butt attachment that get slapped on in the name of aerodynamics. What I don’t understand is why NASA didn’t give the pointy thing a serious flame paint job. From Ealasaid.

This shot looks a bit like a painting, which I actually dig. From jthutt75.

I’m not sure how I feel about the framing in this shot. Filling up part of the frame with asphalt is common in automotive photography, but half seems like a bit much. It’s a really rad perspective though. From AGeekMom.

This shot of the shuttle shooting by what I’m pretty sure is the San Antonio Austin capitol building is awesome. From Sweet John.

Ah, here’s the shot I’m sure NASA loves to see: people being blown away (as they should be) by the shuttle transporter in flight. What a beaut!

Follow Derek Mead on Twitter: @derektmead.