On the morning of September 20th, the 12 year old in all of us will be stirred awake by the sight of Space Shuttle Endeavour flying low over San Francisco and her many notable landmarks. As the Shuttle Discovery did in DC and the Enterprise did in New York, Endeavour will saturate the local media for three days on either side of it's arrival, so brace yourselves for that appropriately. There will be slideshows.
Endeavour will depart Edwards Air Force Base just north of Los Angeles on the back of a modified 747 next Thursday morning. On its trip around the Bay Area, the shuttle and its carrier will do low-level fly-bys of Moffett Field and various landmarks over San Francisco and Sacramento. We don't know the exact route yet, but we're guessing the bridges and the skyline along the Northeastern waterfront are good bets.
Moffett Field, for those with an interest in shuttle's history was formerly a training ground for shuttle pilots to practice approaches and landings. Researchers at NASA Ames in Mountain View also developed the heat shield that allows the shuttle to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere without melting. So, they've got some good history together.
Look for more details on the exact timing to come next week. There's already a meetup planned in Crissy Field for the sharpshooters who can skip work and try to get a photo of the shuttle's victory lap around the Bay Area. (Sidenote: Don't forget to share with the SFist Flickr pool, friends!)
When she's done wowing crowds from Mountain View from Sacramento, the Endeavour will head back down South to Edwards Air Force Base, where she'll be modified to help out NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) — another modified Boeing 747 aircraft.