White Sands, NM — NASA says bad weather has forced it to put off the piggyback flight of the space shuttle Endeavour to California, where the now-retired spacecraft will be put on display.
The space agency announced Sunday that it has pushed back the start of the multi-day flight until Tuesday, a day later than planned. Storms forecast over the Southeast prompted the delay, NASA said in a statement announcing the postponement.
NASA still hopes to deliver Endeavour, the baby of the shuttle fleet, to Los Angeles by Thursday, the agency said.
The spacecraft and its Boeing 747 carrier are slated to make several stops and low-level flyovers along the route, with overnight stops in Houston -- home to the mission control center for the U.S. manned space program -- and at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in southern California. Dryden is located at Edwards Air Force Base, the landing site for the first shuttle missions.
The jet-shuttle combo will make low-altitude passes over NASA's Stennis Space Center on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the agency's Michoud Assembly plant near New Orleans, where the shuttles' external fuel tanks were built; over the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico, a last-resort landing site where shuttle pilots trained; and over San Francisco, Sacramento and other northern California sites.
Endeavor is scheduled to be on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles by late October. Built as a replacement for the ill-fated shuttle Challenger, it made 25 flights into space between 1992 and 2011.
The other two surviving orbiters, Discovery and Atlantis, are also being put on display at museums. Atlantis will be at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida; Discovery at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum annex in Virginia.