Saturday, September 22, 2012

Witnessing Space Shuttle Endeavor's Final Flight

Yesterday, if you haven't already seen in the news, was the day that the space shuttle, the Endeavour flew over California. This was one of the last space shuttles to ever go to the moon. It was flying from the Edwards Air Force Base to LAX, and would later be located permanently in the California Science Center in LA. NASA's space shuttles were all built in California, so it's nice that one will be stationed here permanently for the public to see.

A lot of kids from my school crowded outside their classrooms because their teachers let them wait for this historic event: Endeavour would come flying over our school on top of a plane. We waited inside for the space shuttle to come because our substitute for Spanish told us that he was following the twitter feed and that it is still in Malibu. Every once in a while one of the kids in my class or from the classroom below would shout "THERE IT IS!!" and then everyone would rush to the window just to find out it was a false alarm.

Our sub said that we would be able to tell when the Space Shuttle showed up because we would hear a bunch of little kids screaming and shouting. While we were in class one of my classmates yelled "IT'S HERE" so our sub said "Let's go!" and everyone started to rush out the door until we found out it was another false alarm. Our sub said that another false alarm and he would send the students to the Dean's Office, because for one thing, this would NOT look like a normal airplane and we should look for a really low flying airplane (NASA would be flying it especially low for everyone to see) with a GIANT space shuttle on top.

While he was explaining to us that there was, in fact, 15 minutes to go until the Endeavour would fly overhead, we heard a bunch of excited screams from below and he exclaimed to us "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!" and we all rushed out of the classroom in a massive heap. At first we couldn't see anything. We saw a bunch of kids crowded on the bridge looking up. It was beautiful weather yesterday, and the sky was so clear, but there was no plane in sight.

Then we spotted it. It was spectacular. It flew right above us. There was, in fact, a giant space shuttle strapped to the top of the plane. It was an amazing moment. It seemed as if time stopped. All of the screams had subsided, while everyone looked in awe and wonder at the amazing sight. You must realize that to calm a giant group of kids that just had a long break was quite a miracle. On top of that, as soon as the Endeavor flew over, all of the kids pulled their phones out of their pockets (which were NOT allowed) to take pictures, but the teachers either allowed it for this occasion, or were too awestruck themselves to notice. A few jets flew after it, and then it was gone as fast as it had come.

Interesting thing was that this event was covered by social media. My teacher followed Endeavour's flight path through twitter, and thousands of articles about when it would fly and where to spot it was all over the news. Plus, if you happened to miss it, you would be able to watch it online or on TV. One of our favorite authors, Lisa Yee was invited by NASA to witness Endeavor's take off from Edwards Air Force Base. She took a spectacular video of the take off from 500 feet away!

I am really glad that I got to witness this historical event live during school. Some people were taking math tests and did not get to see it, or their teachers did not let them out. My mom, dad, and sister did not get to see it either.

Frankly, I did not even know that there was going to be a space shuttle flying over California yesterday, but then again it isn't something you'd expect everyday.

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