Robert Kovacik and Fabian Rodriguez
Space Shuttle Endeavour was poised to leave Edwards AFB on its final flight. Robert Kovacik reports for the NBC4 News at 11pm on Thursday, September 20, 2012
The space shuttle Endeavour entered the Golden State midday Thursday, a day before it lands in Los Angeles, its future permanent home.
On the back of a modified Boeing 747, the retired shuttle landed at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in Edwards, Calif.
The ferry flight landed at 12:50 p.m. Thursday after a take off from a stopover in El Paso, Texas, at about 11 a.m. local time, according to a Dryden status report.
The shuttle did several low-level flyovers along the way to California, including at the Tucson, Ariz., home of the last person to command an Endeavour mission: retired astronaut Mark Kelly, and his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
"That's my spaceship,'' Mark Kelly said as the couple watched the shuttle loop overhead.
Kelly and Giffords recently moved back to Tucson from Houston, where Giffords was recovering from serious injuries she suffered in a 2011 attack in which a gunman killed six people and wounded Giffords and 12 others.
The shuttle's journey to California marks a kind of homecoming for the orbiter, which was completed in Palmdale in 1987.
Endeavour performed a brief flyover of Edwards before landing on Runway 22L.
Endeavour will spend the night at Edwards, departing the base at 8:15 a.m. Friday for a California tour that will take it to the state capitol building in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area.
That departure time is a delay of about an hour. NASA said the departure had been delayed "to increase the probability that fog over the San Francisco area will dissipate before the flyover."
It's expected to a low fly by over Palmdale, Lancaster, Rosamond and Mojave before heading to Northern California.
Returning to Southern California, the Endeavour will do flyovers of multiple Los Angeles-area locations before landing at LAX at about 12:45 p.m. An arrival ceremony is planned at the airport.
Exact times and exact locations of the flyover spots are not being provided by NASA for security reasons, and weather and other considerations may alter the schedule. However, NASA on Thursday said the California Science Center, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, the Getty Center, Griffith Observatory, Disneyland and Malibu were among the planned locations.
LA-area flybys were expected to take place any time at 11:30 a.m.
The shuttle will stay at Los Angeles International Airport until Oct. 12, when it's slated to begin its two-day overland journey to its new home at the California Science Center, southwest of downtown LA.
Endeavour will go on display Oct. 30 in the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion.