The last mission: L.A.

The return home is the final trip for space shuttle Endeavour

Los Angeles experienced a historic day when space shuttle Endeavour, being flown on the back of a plane, flew around the skies of our city for a while.

This was an exciting time for those who from the streets, roofs and via television followed the low flight of a shuttle designed to soar through space. This occasion was a long way coming, fulfilling the longed-for dream of having the California Science Center be the final resting place for the last space shuttle built.

There is great regional pride in being part of space history. The Endeavour, whose destiny was to replace the Challenger (which exploded in 1986, killing seven astronauts), was built and assembled in Southern California. As a result, when NASA announced last year that Los Angeles would receive a shuttle-among a list of cities that competed for that honor-the choice was very special.

It is fair that Endeavour’s last mission is sort of a homecoming.

The presence of the shuttle at the museum located in Exposition Park, next to the Coliseum, will provide children, teenagers and adults an opportunity to admire this space vehicle. It will also be a great chance to appreciate the courage of the astronauts who flew in the shuttle.

The end of the shuttle program, used to build the International Space Station, is the end of an era of space adventure. From now on, space exploration is expected to no longer be a costly government program, and the private sector will hopefully step up and be part of conquering space.

The stars and the planets have forever attracted the attention of humans, awakening our collective imaginations. The presence of the Endeavour in Los Angeles will be a valuable reminder for the adults of what humankind is capable of doing and for the children to dream about space exploration.