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The Final Launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor

The Space Shuttle Endeavour lifted off for the 25th and final time on May 16, 2011.

FUN FACT: The Cosmosphere has a full scale replica of the Space Shuttle Endeavour in our Grand Lobby! 

This incredible shot shows Endeavour as it passed through clouds during liftoff. A NASA chase plane was in the perfect spot to capture these iconic images.

STS-134 was a mission to the International Space Station to deliver an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier and other supplies and experiments to the station.

Nineteen years earlier, on May 16th, 1992, Endeavour landed at Edwards Air Force Base, concluding its first mission, STS-49. Endeavour’s first landing was also the first test of the drag chute in the Shuttle program, which is pictured here in this post.

Endeavour had quite the service life and quite the namesake. The orbiter, as well as the Apollo 15 Command Module, were named after the ship that the famous British Explorer James Cook commanded in the 18th century.

NASA’s website for Endeavour notes that “Cook’s voyage on the Endeavour also established the usefulness of sending scientists on voyages of exploration. While sailing with Cook, naturalist Joseph Banks and Carl Solander collected many new families and species of plants, and encountered numerous new species of animals.”

The Shuttle Endeavour embarked on 25 voyages of scientific exploration during its lifetime. With the conclusion of the STS-134 mission that launched on this day in 2011, the orbiter spent 299 days in space, completed 4,671 orbits of Earth, and traveled 122,883,151 miles over 25 missions.

Picture credit: NASA
​​​​​​​Caption: John Mulnix, Cosmosphere Volunteer