Retired space shuttles Atlantis, Endeavour go nose-to-nose

Spaceships to be displayed at museums

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Endeavour and Atlantis swapped places Thursday morning in the last meeting of two shuttle orbiters at Kennedy Space Center.

The retired spaceships, with 58 missions between them, are almost ready to leave KSC to go on public display at museums.

"We've finished all the work on Endeavour," said Stephanie Stilson, NASA's head of orbiter Transition and Retirement. "Atlantis is close to being complete."

Endeavour moved into the Vehicle Assembly Building's High Bay 4.  It's scheduled to move to the Shuttle Landing Facility Sept. 14 and depart Florida Sept. 17 on a three-day trip to Los Angeles, Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported.

Atlantis took Endeavour's place in Orbiter Processing Facility-2 for some final work to install a mock-up airlock and close out areas surrounding a set of replica main engine nozzles.

In mid-October, Atlantis will move back to the VAB, and is targeting a Nov. 2 roll down the road to the KSC Visitor Complex.

Dozens of space center employees gathered to watch the historic event as Endeavour and Atlantis met nose to nose, something that occurred only one other time during the retirement process, about a year ago.

The orbiters began backing out of their respective facilities around 9 a.m. and reached their new parking spaces about an hour later.

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