Hundreds Gather to Bid Shuttle Endeavour Farewell

Space Shuttle makes pit stop in Fort Worth

The space shuttle Endeavour is back on its way to Florida following  an overnight stay in Fort Worth.

The shuttle's ferry flight lifted off shortly after 11 a.m. from the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth. The shuttle will make one final overnight stop before its anticipated arrival at Kennedy Space Center on Friday.

Hundreds of people crowded nearby roadways adjacent to the base to try to catch a peek of the departure.

On Wednesday afternoon, Endeavour made the second of two Texas stops, drawing hundreds of spectators in Fort Worth.

A modified Boeing 747 with the shuttle riding piggyback landed at NAS JRB at about 3:15 p.m. after a midmorning stop at Biggs Army Airfield at Fort Bliss, in El Paso.

Hundreds of people lined streets and businesses surrounding the base to catch a glimpse of the surprise visit. Many spectators showed up with binoculars and cameras to capture the shuttle like they'd never seen before.

"I've seen it land on its own and take off but never on piggyback," one spectator said.

Some parents heard the news and took their children out of school early so their children could see the landing with their own eyes.

"I think it's important for them to be a part of this," one mother said. "We can't go to Houston or to Florida, so this is the best we can do."

The aircraft left Edwards Air Force Base in California on Wednesday morning. It is scheduled to stay at Fort Worth's former Carswell Air Force Base before resuming its flight to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla.

It was supposed to leave California on Sunday, but a technical delay and bad weather postponed the trip.

Endeavour landed at the California backup site on Nov. 30 after storms hit its main Florida landing site. The cross-country ferry is expected to cost more than $1.8 million.

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