Wow, that was amazing. So a group of us (Aimee, Amy, Tameem, and myself) decided to go down to the Rose Garden, across the street from the USC campus and in the grounds of the Califorina Science Center where the Shuttle will be housed. Of all the places in LA where there will be a flyover, surely we ought to get a good view from there. Also, the Rose Garden gives access to a large piece of sky, so even if it does not come super-close, we ought to get a good chance… That was the thinking. (A major landmark here was that this is the most USC people I’ve ever seen in the lovely Rose Garden – not counting people on their way to a game at the Coliseum…) Well, it worked far better than we imagined. The shuttle eventually appeared from the West, and people began to cheer and wave, and snap pictures and so forth… We all felt very lucky that they did that pass…. you could see the fighter plane (?) escort, and there it was appropriately (sort of) over the buildings where it will live out its days… We’d talked about what it meant to see the very last transport flight of a shuttle, the end of the shuttle program, the future of manned spaceflight, and so forth. We, and the assembled crowd, all turned and left to go back to our lives, and I sent a text to my colleague Elena up at JPL who was waiting up there, saying “it’s on its way to you!”.
Back on campus (Trousdale and Bloom) we met up with another friend, Chris, who was joining us for a luncheon, talked about the sighting we just saw, and… there was a huge sound and loud cheers and shouts of “It’s coming baaaaack!!!” and we looked up and the shuttle was doing a super-low pass over the campus approaching the Science Center from the North! It was remarkably dramatic, and I had no time to catch a good shot for you before it hid partly behind a tree. In the shot (at full wide angle, by the way) it has passed over Exposition and is just going over the Rose Garden and Science Center that is on the other side of the tree you can see.
That was spectacular!