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Space shuttle's endeavors in movies started before first launch

September 21, 2012|By Scott Sandell and Noelene Clark
  • Touchstone Pictures
Touchstone Pictures (evdqdkgy20120917163848/600 )

The space shuttle Endeavour arrived in Los Angeles on Friday, flying atop a modified 747 over landmarks such as Disneyland, the Getty Center and the Griffith Observatory before landing at Los Angeles International Airport. But that's nothing compared with previous shuttle missions, such as saving planet Earth from a doomsday asteroid.

The latter, of course, refers to the shuttles deployed in the 1998 film "Armageddon," starring Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck. And it only hints at the history of the spacecraft's use in movies, which actually predates the first launch of Columbia on April 12, 1981.

The first major movie to employ the shuttle -- actually, seven shuttles -- was the 1979 James Bond film "Moonraker."

PHOTOS: NASA's space shuttles in film

The villain, Hugo Drax, develops a toxin that will destroy all human life on Earth, and he sends six shuttles full of "genetically perfect" people to a secret space station while the genocide takes place. Agent 007 (Roger Moore) pilots a shuttle to the rescue, of course, but not without some Bondian high-jinks.

What other films feature the shuttle? Find out in our gallery. And if we missed any, let us know.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Endeavour will be housed at LAX until moving to its permanent home at the California Science Center. The shuttle's two-day trek through the city's streets is expected to begin Oct. 12.


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