Space Shuttle Endeavour Scheduled For Final Landing June 1st
The space shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to return to Earth for the last time on Wednesday, June 1st. The space shuttle is nearing the end of the 16 day STS-134 mission to the International Space Station.
There are two landing opportunities for Endeavour at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 1st: 2:35 am or 4:11 am EDT. Before the shuttle makes its final landing, the astronauts must assess the weather conditions in order to complete a safe landing. If Endeavour is unable to land on Wednesday, it will have the opportunity to land at the Kennedy Space Center the next day; in addition, the Edwards Air Force Base in California is available as a backup landing site.
If Endeavour lands on June 1st as scheduled, the shuttle will have spent a total of 299 days in space. Endeavour first launched on May 7, 1992, and has since completed 25 missions, traveling a total of 122.8 million miles.
Endeavour gets its name from the British ship HMS Endeavour, captained by the British explorer James Cook in 1768. The shuttle was originally constructed as a replacement for the space shuttle Challenger, which was lost in an accident in 1986. Endeavour cost $2.2 billion to construct and was completed in May of 1991, a year before its first launch.
Highlights of Endeavour’s 25 mission career, which has spanned nine years, include:
-1992: Captured and redeployed the INTELSAT VI communications satellite
-1993: Service mission to the Hubble Space Telescope
-1998: Interaction with Mir space station, including astronaut exchange
-1998: First International Space Station assembly mission
-2007: Four spacewalks completed
After Endeavour completes its final mission, the shuttle will be retired to the California Science Center in Los Angeles, where it will be a permanent exhibit. The space shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to launch on its final mission on July 8th. Atlantis will be the 135th shuttle mission and will mark the end of the space shuttle era.
Photo Credit: nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/shuttleoperations/orbiters/orbitersend.html