After a two week delay, NASA’s youngest shuttle completed her final launch this morning.
While not as storied as her two sisters, Endeavour has had her share of milestones for the manned space program.
- Named through a competition where elementary school children submitted their ideas for a name (Yours truly still has a letter from the head of NASA thanking him for his submission of “Endeavour” to the competition).
- Not originally planned as part of the shuttle fleet. Congress authorized her construction following the loss of Challenger.
- Built mostly from spare parts from the first four shuttles.
- First Hubble Telescope repair mission (STS-61).
- Joined the American Unity module to the Russion Zarya Module, thus creating the International Space Station (STS-88).
- First Shuttle Mission following the September 11th, 2001 attacks (STS-108)
- First Shuttle Mission following the Columbia’s destruction and the first to use the now-commonplace “fuel tank camera” to watch for any damage during launch (STS-113).
- Unless NASA decides to leave the Raffello module behind on STS-135, this will be the final ISS assembly mission for a space shuttle.
Endeavour by the Numbers (Prior to STS-134):
Total miles traveled: 103,149,636
Total time in space: 280 days, hours, 39 minutes, 44 seconds
Total orbits: 4,429
Total flights: 24
Total crew members: 148
Mir dockings: 1
International Space Station dockings: 10