I snuck away from the conference I was attending in LA on Thursday and headed south. There was a Space Shuttle 20 minutes away and I was going to see it. Endeavour did not disappoint. She is a beautiful machine.
I also spent about an hour talking with a docent about the shuttle. He work for 20 years as a materials and process engineer for Rockwell and worked on the program from 1978 to 1986. We talked about the details such as the asymmetrical nose landing gear doors, the little hatch to get access to the cargo bay from the left side of the fuselage, the cargo bay door hinges and other details. That was basically what I spent my time doing. Just taking in the details.
The grime and burn marks are badges of honor. The surroundings and display of the shuttle are humble, but I enjoyed how accessible it was. In a few years it will be joined to a stack and raised into a vertical position. I'm sure it will be spectacular, but I'm glad I was able to get close to it like this.