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In Focus: Endeavour's Final Mission In Focus: Endeavour's Final Mission

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In Focus: Endeavour's Final Mission

Space shuttle Endeavour's main engines ignite for liftoff at Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Endeavour began its final flight, the STS-134 mission to the International Space Station, at 8:56 a.m. EDT on May 16. (NASA/Tony Gray and Tom Farrar) (NASA/Tony Gray and Tom Farrar)

June 1, 2011

NASA's space shuttle Endeavour completed its final mission this morning, touching down safely in Florida. Endeavour spent a total of 299 days in space, traveling more than 122.8 million miles during its 25 flights. Its first launch took place on May 7, 1992 -- its final launch on May 16, 2011. "We want to thank all the tens of thousands of employees who have put their hands on this incredible ship," shuttle commander Mark Kelly said moments before liftoff. Endeavour and its six-member crew delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2, the Express Logistics Carrier-3, and additional spare parts for the Dextre robotic helper to the International Space Station. Collected here are images from Endeavour's final trip as NASA prepares for to launch its final shuttle, scheduled for July 8th.

 



The docked space shuttle Endeavour, backdropped by a nighttime view of Earth and a starry sky are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 28 crew member on the International Space Station, on May 28, 2011. (NASA)



Attired in a training version of his shuttle launch and entry suit, NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel, STS-134 mission specialist, is pictured during a water survival training session in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) near NASA's Johnson Space Center on February 23, 2011. (NASA/Robert Markowitz)



Bathed in xenon lights, space shuttle Endeavour, attached to its external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters, on a nighttime journey from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The 3.4-mile trek, known as "rollout," began at 7:56 p.m. EST, March 10, 2011, and took about seven hours to complete. (NASA/Jim Grossmann)



On May 15, 2011, At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the rotating service structure (RSS) moves away from space shuttle Endeavour on Launch Pad 39A. The structure provides weather protection and access to the shuttle while it awaits lift off on the pad. (NASA/Jack Pfaller)



Jacob Lewis, 8, left, sister Hope, 3, second from left, brother Caleb, 1, and their mother, Joy Lewis, right, and grandfather, Ed Blankenship, second from right, all of Stafford, Virginia, walk past the Rocket Garden while leaving a launch viewing area, after the space shuttle Endeavour launch was scrubbed, at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Friday, April 29, 2011. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)



The space shuttle Endeavour, on launch pad 39A as a storm passes by prior to the rollback of the Rotating Service Structure (RSS), on Thursday, April 28, 2011, at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.



Photographers capture sunrise behind space shuttle Endeavour a couple of hours before the scheduled launch at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Monday, May 16, 2011. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)



Space shuttle Endeavour's main engines ignite for liftoff at Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Endeavour began its final flight, the STS-134 mission to the International Space Station, at 8:56 a.m. EDT on May 16. (NASA/Tony Gray and Tom Farrar)



Kicking up a trail of smoke and steam, space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from its seaside launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8:56 a.m. EDT on May 16, 2011. (NASA/Jim Grossmann)



The space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on May 16, 2011. (Reuters/Hans Deryk)



Spectators react as the space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center, on May 16, 2011. (Reuters/Scott Audette)



Viewed through steam and debris kicked up by its rocket engines, the space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from Kennedy Space Center, on Monday, May 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)



Rising on twin columns of fire and kicking up a trail of smoke and steam, space shuttle Endeavour lifts off from its seaside launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA/Jim Grossmann)



NASA officials view space shuttle Endeavour as it launches skyward through the windows of Firing Room 4, on Monday, May 16, 2011. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)



The Space Shuttle Endeavour flies into the clouds as it lifts off on its final mission, on May 16, 2011. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)



Photographed from a shuttle training aircraft, space shuttle Endeavour punches through low clouds, heading toward Earth orbit on May 16, 2011. (NASA)



Space shuttle Endeavour and its six-member crew head toward a rendezvous with the International Space Station on May 16, 2011. (NASA)



The STS-134 external fuel tank, during its release from space shuttle Endeavour in space following the successful launch on May 16, 2011. (NASA)



One of the STS-134 crew members aboard the space shuttle Endeavour recorded this image of the International Space Station (ISS), backdropped against the blackness of space, as the two spacecraft made their relative approach on May 18, 2011. (NASA)



One of the Expedition 27 crew members aboard the International Space Station (ISS) recorded this image of the distant space shuttle Endeavour, as the two spacecraft made their relative approach on May 18, 2011. (NASA)



The International Space Station, photographed by an STS-134 crew member on the space shuttle Endeavour, May 28, 2011. (NASA)



This high angle, partial view of the port side of the space shuttle Endeavour's crew cabin was provided by an Expedition 27 crew member during a survey of the approaching STS-134 vehicle prior to docking with the International Space Station on May 18, 2011. (NASA)



NASA astronauts Mark Kelly (left), STS-134 commander; and Andrew Feustel, mission specialist, are pictured on the aft flight deck of space shuttle Endeavour during rendezvous and docking operations with the International Space Station on flight day three. (NASA)



In the grasp of the International Space Station's Canadarm2, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS) is transferred from space shuttle Endeavour's payload bay for installation on the station's starboard truss on May 19, 2011. (NASA)



After more than five months of serving as a flight engineer on back-to-back International Space Station Expedition crews, NASA astronaut Cady Coleman was only 48 hours away from returning to Earth in this photo. She and two Expedition 27 crewmates lessened the population of twelve on the joint Endeavour/ISS complex to nine when they undocked on May 23 in a Soyuz spacecraft and returned safely to Earth. (NASA)



A portion of the International Space Station is visible in this view of a starry sky and Earth's horizon, photographed by an STS-134 crew member while space shuttle Endeavour remains docked with the station on May 27, 2011. (NASA)



NASA astronauts Andrew Feustel (right) and Greg Chamitoff, both STS-134 mission specialists, participate in the mission's first session of extravehicular activity (EVA) on May 20, 2011, as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station. During the six-hour, 19-minute spacewalk, Feustel and Chamitoff retrieved long-duration materials exposure experiments and installed another, installed a light on one of the station's rail line handcarts, made preparations for adding ammonia to a cooling loop and installed an antenna for the External Wireless Communication system. The newly-installed Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS) is at center frame. (NASA)



Part of space shuttle Endeavour, with the Earth, Moon and space in the background, photographed by an Expedition 27 crew member aboard the International Space Station on May 19, 2011. (NASA)



Ted Robles with his fifth grader daughter Marina inside, gets some video as Mesa Verde Elementary School students talk with Shuttle Endeavour astronauts, including mission commander Mark Kelly from Tucson, Arizona, on Sunday May 22, 2011. Elementary school classmates of the youngest victim of the January shootings in Tucson chatted Sunday with space shuttle Endeavour astronauts. (AP Photo/Kelly Presnell/ARIZONA DAILY STAR)



NASA astronauts Andrew Feustel (top left) and Greg Chamitoff (center left), both STS-134 mission specialists, participate in the mission's first session of extravehicular activity (EVA) as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station. (NASA)



A mirror shot in orbit -- NASA astronaut Michael Fincke, STS-134 mission specialist, uses a digital camera to capture his own image, reflected in part of the International Space Station, during a spacewalk on May 25, 2011. (NASA)



A fish-eye lens attached to an electronic still camera was used to capture this image of NASA astronaut Michael Fincke (top center) during the mission's fourth session of extravehicular activity (EVA) as construction and maintenance continue on the International Space Station. (NASA)



The International Space Station is featured in this image photographed by an STS-134 crew member on the space shuttle Endeavour after the station and shuttle began their post-undocking relative separation. Undocking of the two spacecraft occurred at 11:55 p.m. (EDT) on May 29, 2011. (NASA)



Vapor trails follow space shuttle Endeavour as it approaches Runway 15 on the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the final time, on June 1, 2011. Main gear touchdown was at 2:34:51 a.m. EDT, followed by nose gear touchdown at 2:35:04 a.m., and wheelstop at 2:35:36 a.m. (NASA/Kevin O'Connell)



The space shuttle Endeavour lands on runway 33 after completing her final flight at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday, June 1, 2011. (AP Photo/John Raoux)



The STS-134 astronauts from left, European Space Agency's Roberto Vittori, Gregory H. Johnson, pilot; Mark Kelly, commander; and Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, and Andrew Feustel, all mission specialists, pose for a group photograph shortly after landing on board the space shuttle Endeavour at the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) at Kennedy Space Center, on Wednesday, June 1, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls)



Its final space mission complete, space shuttle Endeavour is towed to the Orbiter Processing Facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday, June 1, 2011. Endeavour now begins a long decommissioning process, preparing to be delivered as a display for the California Science Center in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/John Raoux)



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