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En route home, Endeavour soars over Golden Gate Bridge

After 25 missions into space, the "Baby" space shuttle delights thousands with a low-altitude fly-over of the world's most famous bridge.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour, atop a special Boeing 747, flies over the top of the Golden Gate Bridge on Sept. 21, 2012.
Daniel Terdiman/CNET

SAUSALITO, Calif. -- With thousands of fans looking on from around the San Francisco Bay, the space shuttle Endeavour soared over the Golden Gate Bridge this morning en route to its final home in Los Angeles.

After taking off a little after 8 a.m. PT from the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in southern California's Mojave Desert, and piggybacked on top of a specially-outfitted Boeing 747, Endeavour made its way north to Sacramento and then turned west toward San Francisco. The journey was a farewell tour for what was called the "Baby" space shuttle, a replacement for the ill-fated Challenger, which exploded after liftoff in 1986. Endeavour made 25 launches during its lifetime, the first in 1992, the last in May 2011.

Over the course of those 25 launches, Endeavour spent 299 days in space, made 4,671 orbits of the Earth, and traveled 122.88 million miles. Among its earliest missions was a rescue attempt a stranded communications satellite.

The Shuttle and the 747 over the Golden Gate Bridge. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

After completing its flight to Los Angeles today, Endeavour will be put on a truck and driven to the California Science Center where it will reside permanently.

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