Friday, April 29, 2011

Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Flight

Credit: NASA video

After nearly two decades of achievements in space, Endeavour makes one last reach for the stars on its final mission, STS-134. This web cast examines the mission to come and explores the storied flying career for the youngest of NASA's shuttle orbiters.

Space Shuttle Endeavour (Orbiter Vehicle Designation OV-105) is the fifth and final shuttle and was constructed as a replacement for Challenger. Structural spares from the construction of Discovery and Atlantis, two of the three remaining operating shuttles in use at that time, were used in its assembly. The decision to build Endeavour was favored over refitting Enterprise on cost grounds. The orbiter is named after the British HMS Endeavour, the ship which took Captain James Cook on his first voyage of discovery (1776-1771). Endeavour first flew in 1992 on STS-49 and during that mission it captured and deployed the stranded INTELISAT IV communications satellite. In 1993, it made the first service mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Among other notable achievements: in 1998, on STS-89 Endeavour rendezvoused with the MIR space station for an astronaut exchange. That same year on STS-88 Endeavour flew the first assembly mission (Unity Module-Node 1) of the International Space Station. This flight will mark the 25th and final flight of Endeavour.  Upon decommissioning  Endeavour will be displayed at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. This means detailed photographs to follow sometime in the future.

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