Departing from Houston around 9 a.m. EDT, Endeavour was carried atop a modified 747 that made a refueling stop in El Paso, Texas, then made low-level flyovers in New Mexico and Arizona -- including a pass over Tucson to honor former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a strong supporter of NASA's shuttle program whose husband, Mark Kelly, commanded Endeavour's final mission last year -- the Los Angeles Times reported.
Kelly requested the flyover, NASA confirmed.
Endeavour will depart Edwards early Friday and will fly low over the Edwards-area communities of Palmdale, Lancaster, Rosamond and Mojave before heading north to Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, NASA officials said.
Later in the morning it will return to land at Los Angeles International Airport after flying over its future home, the California Science Center in Exposition Park in downtown Los Angeles.
Endeavour will remain in a hangar at the airport until Oct. 12 when it will be transported though Los Angeles streets to its display pavilion at the science center.