Many in the Bay Area will be looking up into the sky Friday morning for a once-in-a-lifetime event that will allow them to see a 100-ton double-decker chunk of steel flying through the air.
[A video livestream will be on NBCBayArea.com on Wednesday morning.]
It's the space shuttle Endeavour on the back of a 747, which is part of the shuttle's farewell cross country tour from Florida-to-California.
The pilots of the aircraft that will be carrying the space shuttle across the country have a pretty good idea what to expect during their aerial parade of the Golden State. NASA held a similar fly by with the shuttle Discovery on the East Coast in April that literally stopped traffic on the Washington, D.C. beltway.
"We could see people stopped in their cars and up on buildings and such," 747 pilot Jeff Moultrie said.
The flight crew for this week's trip is expecting the same interest this time. "We're proud to show off our work that NASA's done," pilot Bill Rieke said.
The sojourn will include a low level flyover of Moffett Field Friday morning. Moffett is expecting thousands of people to attend the event. The base told NBC Bay Area they have already handed out 1,500 parking passes to the base, adding they are capping the event at 5,000 people but hope to allow everyone through the gates that wants to take part in the historical event.
6 a.m.: Doors open; food trucks available
7 a.m. – 10 a.m.: Visit booths about Ames contributions to the Space Shuttle Program
8:30 a.m.: Welcome by Ames Center Director S. Pete Worden and Special Guest Speaker
9 a.m.: Countdown to Flyover
The cross-country flight was delayed slightly by weather. NASA officials announced Monday that the flight from Kennedy Space Center would be postponed because of thunderstorms along the flight path. The national weather picture has cleared and the cross country flight is a go.
NBC Bay Area's weather department said fog could still be an issue locally. There is also a chance the planes could actually peak beneath the fog bank for an extra thrilling display (if the timing is right).
Moffett is not the only flyover. There are several others planned along the route Friday. Friday morning the double-decker planes will leave NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
The aircraft and shuttle are scheduled to make flyovers of Sacramento, NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett and the Golden Gate Bridge. The aircraft wil then head down the coast for flyovers of several sites in LA, including Disneyland, before its touchdown at LAX.
Endeavour will be undocked from the carrier at LAX, and crews at a United Airlines hangar will prepare the shuttle for transport -- a 12-mile trip to the Science Center. It is expected to arrive at the Science Center on Oct. 13 and go on display Oct. 30 in the Science Center's Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion.
Endeavour completed 25 missions, spent 299 days in orbit, and orbited Earth 4,671 times while traveling 122,883,151 miles, according to NASA.
Below is a time-lapse that shows the mating process that brought Endeavour to the top of the Boeing 747.