OffBeat

Space nerds gather in San Francisco for Space Shuttle fly-by

Crowds wait for endeavor

What’s the only thing that could coax work-obsessed San Franciscans away from their computers and out into the sunlight? A space shuttle getting a piggy back from a 747 over the Bay.

Or free food.

Hundreds of people from around the Bay Area crowded on piers under the Bay Bridge to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor fly over the area. NASA is retiring the space shuttle , which was the fifth “Space Shuttle orbiter” to be commissioned by the government. It replaced Challenger and took its first flight in 1992 on a mission to fix a satellite, and is now retired. The shuttle is making its way from Northern California down to Los Angeles where it will perform a similar flyover and then come to its final resting place in an L.A.-based museum.

“I haven’t seen this many people on the pier before. That to me is as rare a sight,” Sunil Arwari, a contractor for electrical company PG&E, told VentureBeat. “I skipped a meeting, but did not specify why.”

When the plane actually made it over the viewing spot, it was far off in the distance prompting complaints like, “Yeah, I’ve seen things in the distance before. Things that could be anything.” But others were happy to be at the event, calling it a “step in the right direction” for NASA.

“I think it’s step forward because I personally don’t believe in the space shuttle,” Chris, a professional services employee for Axioma told VentureBeat. “It’s kind of like the clunky, American SUV of space flight.”

Chris revealed he was once an aeronautical engineer and believes the next generation of space shuttles should be in “capsule” form, calling it “cheaper, more reusable.”

Despite being far off int he distance, the shuttle was definitely impressive. It’s an aircraft that was in space, on top of another aircraft, in the air, over the Bay Bridge, flying at around 1,500 feet. C’mon. And it seems the crowd, or at least Chris, doesn’t mind the money a spectacle like this costs.

“We’ve already spent trillions on the thing, what’s one more flight.”

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Additionally reporting by Dylan Tweney and Chrissy Farr.