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Endeavour soars from Fort Worth runway

The space shuttle Endeavour lifted off from Naval Air Station Fort Worth as planned shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday as onlookers lined nearby roadways to get a glimpse of the giant Boeing 747-borne spacecraft.

The shuttle arrived in Fort Worth at midafternoon Wednesday, atop its jumbo jet carrier, but bad weather in the southeast delayed its planned departure at sunup Thursday.

"At one time we were going to depart at sunrise, but that was when we planned to go the whole way to the Cape (Canaveral)," NASA spokesman George Diller said Thursday.

The space vehicle will spend the night at another location before continuing on to the Kennedy Space Center on Friday. Diller, however, said the midpoint destination won't be released for security reasons until "wheels up."

But he said the weather delay results from a cold front with an associated low-pressure system that was bearing down on Florida.

"It's ugly," Diller said, "and it (gets) more intense as it goes along."

Endeavour's arrival Wednesday was the first time since 1997 that a space shuttle landed at Fort Worth's military air base for an overnight stop.

The shuttle landed at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., last week. The trip home rings up a bill of close to $2 million.

Throngs of people lined Spur 341 Wednesday afternoon to watch the landing, and military members brought their families to take pictures.

"It’s the same reaction that I have, and I have seen it a lot — it’s really pretty cool," said Mike Moses, launch integration manager for the shuttle program.

Staff writer Chris Vaughn contributed to this report.