Shuttle Endeavour Lifts Off For The Last Time [VIDEO]
The space shuttle Endeavour was launched (Great photo from an airplane off MSN.com) on it's mission to the International Space Station at 6:56 MT this morning. Follow STS-134 at NASA.gov. The final mission for Endeavour was delayed two weeks due to an electronics glitch.
When it reaches the ISS on Wednesday, the shuttle will deliver nearly 15 tons of supplies and equipment, highlighted by the 7.5-ton Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, which will be attached to the space station's exterior during a robotic arm operation. Once it's installed, the $2 billion particle detector will almost immediately start sending down data about cosmic rays according to msnbc.
Four spacewalks are to be conducted during the shuttle's visit, marking the last scheduled outings by shuttle astronauts at the space station. The spacewalkers are to install equipment, do electrical work and conduct maintenance on the station's cooling system and robotic arm.
The all-male, all-veteran crew includes Captain Mark Kelly, pilot Greg Johnson, spacewalkers Mike Fincke, Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff, and Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori.
This mission will feature the first-ever departure of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft while a shuttle is docked to the International Space Station. NASA's Cady Coleman, Russia's Dmitri Kondratyev and Italy's Paolo Nespoli are due to leave the station and head back down to Earth on May 23.
After Endeavour's return to Earth, the shuttle will be retired as a museum piece for the California Science Center in Los Angeles. NASA has only one more scheduled shuttle flight to the station, to be taken by Atlantis no earlier than mid-July.
See the launch of Endeavour on YouTube here.