747 to Carry Space Shuttle Back to Florida
The Space Shuttle Endeavour lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California on Nov. 30, 2008. It's parachute is just being deployed (far left) and the nose wheel has yet to touch down. The landing was safe and successful.
Credit: NASA TV

The Space Shuttle Endeavour will be flown from California to Florida on a modified Boeing 747 as early as Sunday, NASA announced today.

The shuttle landed at Edwards Air Force Base Nov. 30 after bad weather in Florida forced a diversion to the California back-up location. Now NASA must ferry Endeavour back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

For the flight, the shuttle will be mounted on the back of the 747.

The flight will cost about $1.8 million. The effort is not expected to have an impact on NASA's scheduled shuttle flights during 2009, including a planned May mission to work on the Hubble Space Telescope.

The exact date and time of departure have yet to be determined because of changing weather conditions and the fluid nature of preparing Endeavour for this ferry flight, according to a NASA statement.

The 16-day shuttle mission to the International Space Station upgraded and serviced the orbiting outpost.

The mission, which came during the 10th anniversary of the space station, included the 200th U.S. spacewalk. Astronauts added two new sleep stations to the ISS, a new galley with a refrigerator, and a water and urine recycling system and an advanced resistive exercise device.

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