HOUSTON -- The space shuttle Endeavour took off atop a modified transport plane from a Houston airport Thursday, beginning its journey to retirement in California, where it will be put on permanent display in a museum. Along the way, the Endeavor will pass low over several cities and places, including Tucson, the home of the last person to fly a shuttle, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, and his wife, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The shuttle took off after sunrise Thursday, riding piggyback on a jumbo jet. It's booked to stop at Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, Texas, before heading to NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Calif. After spending a night there, the shuttle will head to Los Angeles International Airport on Friday. Along the way Thursday, the shuttle was scheduled to fly low over Houston, downtown Austin, which is the Texas capital, the White Sands Missile Range and NASA's White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico, and finally, Tucson.