NASA's Endeavour begins final journey

Space Shuttle Endeavour has undertaken its final journey today, blasting off not into space but to its new retirement home at the Dryden Flight Research Center in California. The NASA craft hitched a ride on the back of a modified Boeing 747, the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), and conducted low-level flyovers across a number of important sites including NASA's Johnson Space Center and Houston.

Endeavour flew as low as 1,500 feet – with the full permission of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), naturally – over crowds of well-wishers, including the home of retired astronaut Mark Kelly. The Tucson, Arizona, fly-by was a special request by Kelly, ABC News reports, who was the last person to command a mission aboard the shuttle.

Although Endeavour's final resting place was a hotly contested matter, California does have some history with the shuttle. It was built in Downey by Rockwell International, Space reports, a company later absorbed into Boeing, and manufactured to replace Challenger after the 1986 accident.

During its operation service with NASA, Endeavour flew 25 missions and a total of 123m space miles. It is expected to complete its sightseeing tour and land at the Dryden Flight Research Center at approximately noon PDT today.