Guess how the space shuttle Endeavour got back to Florida?
That's right. You aviation buffs know that it rides on the back of a 747. More specifically, a modified Boeing 747 that NASA uses to transport the vehicles. NASA actually has two of these aircraft. One is a 747-100 model, while the other is a short range 747-100SR. These aircraft are called Shuttle Carrier Aircraft or (SCA's).
Once when I was traveling, I saw one of these planes in flight with a Shuttle attached. I just happend to look out the window and see it. This was pre-digital cameras and camera phones so I didn't have anything available to capture the moment. I believe it was the Space Shuttle Columbia that I saw but I can't remember for sure. I meant to go home and research the process and event but I never got around to it. Here's what it looked like in the air.
(compliments of Wikipedia.com)
I remember thinking to myself. That must be a really cool job. Short of being an actual shuttle pilot, wouldn't it be cool to fly the shuttle around?
Here are some short videos of the the SCA taking off and landing: