LOS ANGELES: The US space shuttle Endeavour took its final flight Friday, making a spectacular series of flypasts over California before landing in Los Angeles where it will retire near its birthplace.
Riding piggyback on a specially fitted Boeing 747, the shuttle flew over San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge before heading south to take in the Hollywood sign and Disneyland, later landing at LA international airport (LAX).
"It's so cool, and so sad," said Todd Unger, 28, among thousands who camped out from the early hours at the Griffith Observatory overlooking the city and the nearby iconic hilltop Tinseltown sign.
"It's the end of an era. But it shows what America can do, we can be really proud," he added, waving a Stars and Stripes flag as the shuttle banked over the Hollywood Hills.
Cars were parked bumper-to-bumper up the winding roads leading up to the observatory, as Angelenos turned out en masse in several parts of the city to witness Endeavour's final flight.
The shuttle had spent the night at Edwards Air Force Base north of Los Angeles, the last leg after a two-day trip across the country from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Before reaching the West Coast, it flew over Tucson, Arizona to honor former lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a horrific shooting last year and whose astronaut husband Mark Kelly commanded Endeavour's final mission.
"It was pretty spectacular... The people of Tucson got an incredible view of this remarkable machine," Kelly told CNN, adding: "It's really a testament to American ingenuity."
After arriving Friday afternoon, the shuttle will spend a few weeks at a United Airlines hangar at LAX, before being transferred to the California Science Center, where it will go on display on October 30.
Endeavour, which flew more than 115 million miles (185 million kilometers) in its two-decade career, completed its final mission last year.
After the space agency NASA brought an end to the 30-year shuttle program last year, major US cities battled for the right to house one of the craft.