Space Shuttle Endeavour will begin its final journey Wednesday, flying atop a 747 on its way to the California Science Center. It will make various stops along the way.
Endeavour's departure was originally scheduled for Monday, but it was postponed because of a forecast of unfavorable weather Monday and Tuesday, NASA said.
This shuttle was born out of tragedy. It would never have been built if not for that terrible disaster on a bitterly cold January morning in 1986.
After the Challenger accident, then-President Ronald Reagan vowed that the shuttle program would go on and that a new space shuttle would replace the one the nation had lost. The fifth orbiter to be constructed, it was given the designation Orbiter Vehicle 105, or OV-105.
Endeavour, named for the first ship commanded by British explorer James Cook, rolled out of the assembly plant in Palmdale, California, in 1991 at a cost of $1.7 billion. Over the next 20 years, Endeavour flew some of the most high-profile shuttle missions in history.
Endeavour flew 25 flights and nearly 123 million miles. It flew a spacelab mission and numerous International Space Station assembly missions and even rendezvoused with Russia's Mir Space Station.
Endeavour's very first flight was filled with high drama. The crew was sent up to rescue a satellite stranded in a useless orbit. During two successive spacewalks, the satellite wobbled so that astronauts couldn't get a capture bar attached.
On the third attempt, three astronauts rather than two went after the Intelsat Communications Satellite. Rick Hieb, Thomas Akers and Pierre Thuot all got their hands on it. Once inside the shuttle cargo bay, a new "kick motor" was attached and the satellite released into its proper orbit.
Greg Johnson was the pilot for the final Endeavour flight, which lifted off bound for the International Space Station in May of 2011. The vehicle's versatility was one of its greatest assets, says Johnson. "We have put satellites up into orbit. We have done mapping of the whole topography of the Earth. We have taken up the Hubble Space Telescope and serviced it several times. We've built this huge space station. The vehicle has done its job.”
In fact, Endeavour was used during the first Hubble servicing mission. It turned out to be one of the most challenging in the shuttle program’s history. Five space walks, totaling 35 and a half hours, were needed to perform the upgrades and replacements to the telescope. The spacewalks were carried out by astronauts Story Musgrave, Jeff Hoffman, Kathy Thornton and Thomas Akers working in two-person teams over five straight days.
Mike Fincke flew on Endeavour's last flight as a mission specialist. It was his first shuttle flight, though he'd spent a year on the ISS after arriving aboard a Russian Soyuz. Those get the job done, but are cramped and don't leave much wiggle room.
The shuttle, Fincke found out quickly, was the Rolls Royce of spacecraft. "There’s leg room on the thing. It's got a glass cockpit. It has a robot arm. It can fly to the Hubble Space Telescope or the station. It can land anywhere on the planet that has a runway. It is an amazing piece of equipment on any scale."
Mark Kelly commanded that last Endeavour flight. His wife, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was shot and nearly killed by a gunman at a supermarket where she was meeting with constituents just months before Endeavour's final flight. After discussions with family, friends and his wife, Kelly decided to go ahead with the flight.
Kelly like all the other astronauts, talked of the incredible capability of the vehicle. He also joked about the last flight of Endeavour and making sure no one got "sticky fingers."
"You know, when you fly an airplane to the bone yard out in desert," he said, "“They say don't take anything off it. You get the briefing ahead of time. I'll do the same thing with my crew, 'you got to leave, make sure it all stays intact for the museum.' We're not gonna be signing our names on anything."
In a way, Endeavour was able to fulfill a dream and close a circle.
In 2008, Barbara Morgan became the first educator astronaut to fly on a shuttle. She had been the back-up to teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe, who died in the Challenger accident. Morgan ultimately flew on the vehicle built to replace it.
Im quite upset with this article. I believe how the craft got its name is also important. I remember how it got its name because I was apart of naming it, so were thousands of other 6th grade students. We were asked to participate by coming up with a name doing an essay, and putting on a skit as to why we think our name is the best. my class was one who chose Endeavour my class wasnt picked but i think it what ever the name that would have been choosen how it got the name is relivant to its history. The naming gave hopes to many kids who once aspired to be an astronaut then watched the challenger explosion many changed their minds but the naming gave them the hope back.
I agree with you. It's also a shame Texas didn't get a shuttle. Johnson space center in Houston should've gotten one.
Why New York, that's easy.....it's all about money in my opinion!!!
On to the Iceway!
You've done a great job Endeavour.
Enjoy your retirement years.
We'll never forget the wonders you achieved.
Roger Endeavour, over and out.
I am looking forward to seeing the Endeavour land, this Friday, in Los Angeles. I can only imagine how many people will try to get over to LAX; so glad that I work nearby.
Before it lands it will pass over some of the Sites related to Space Travel, and related technologies, such as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, and Edwards Air Force Base, where the Shuttles landed during many of their missions, including the "Return to Space" Mission in September/October 1988.
Ok, why is this going to a science center in California and not remaining to a science center in Florida? I live in Michigan and I visiting other states expect to find relics in the appropriate states example being the shuttle launches and returns were to Florida. I wouldn't visit California and say, oh show me where the shuttle launched lol. Hey kids, lets go visit the Kennedy Space Center and see the shuttle... Oh wait, the darn thing is in "nothing to due with space flight California".
Discovery is staying at Kennedy in Florida. There are three shuttles. It makes sense to share the wealth and knowledge of the space program.
Here's the official breakdown:
Kennedy gets to keep Atlantis, Discovery is at the Udvar-Hazy Center, which is part of the Air and Space Museum, and Endeavour is headed to the California Science Center.
Thanks for reading!
Sophia Dengo, CNN.com
And don't forget that Enterprise is now at the Intrepid museum in New York City.
The Endeavour was built in Palmdale, north east of Los Angeles. That's why there is one here.
Please re-read the article. Who said California have nothing to do with the space program. The Endevour was built in Palmdale, California which is also known as the Mojave Desert. Like others have mentioned, there will be a total of 3 location you can visit.
OH gee, we spent how many billions for Russia to do our launch work? The liberals wanted the money to waste on more productive endeavors like welfare and such. We are out of the space program as a country. A program that brought more life saving equipment and techniques than any other in the entire history of man. Created more jobs than any idea by any politician in the entire globe both private and public. That includes armies and navies. It was spurred on to make our country the greatest in technology on the planet by none other than the last conservative in the Democratic party. You know, the one democrat that believed that lower taxes was good for the economy, fewer people on welfare, killing babies was not a good thing to do, you know, John F. Kennedy, NASA is being scrapped so as to provide money to throw away on stupid programs that do nothing but throw money into politicians pockets. Of course proposed by those who never passed even the easiest science course in elementary school.
What does your comment have anything to do with mine? I never mentioned I was a liberal nor did I say I lived in California. 2 strikes for your comment.
I just sneezed. The government just blew another $1.7 billion on "stuff".
Much as I loved watching the shuttles fly and come home from the comfort of my living room, and despite the many great things that came of it, it was ostensibly a very expensive boondoggle. There was no way that NASA could fly it as often as they wanted to. There were major communication issues within NASA itself that led to the loss of two orbiters – the O-ring issue, for example, was known to NASA and Morton Thiokol engineers as early as 1977, but was never escalated to NASA's top brass. And it did limit exactly what Americans could do in space. No doubt, it was a great idea, to be able to reuse spacecraft instead of going one-shot like Apollo or Soyuz. But in the end, it turned out to be a bigger nightmare than people wanted to believe.
There was one other effect of shuttle. The PEPCON disaster in 1988 was a direct result of an excess supply of one of the compounds used in the SRB's solid fuel – ammonium perchlorate, if I'm right – and that material was packaged in containers that served as oxidizers for that fuel. Because no one at NASA told PEPCON to scale back ammonium perchlorate production, a welder's torch sparked that plant's destruction.
Yeah and Ammonia nitrate blew up Texas city. Stuff happens. Don't blame it on the space shuttle program, blame it on the individuals who won't take the time to make sure things are right and addressed to be made right if need be.
Boondoggle???? The only thing wrong here is the stupid failure to continue a successful program with capabilities not found elsewhere. It is a failure of leadership in the United States. We borrow for far less worthy expenditures. It is time we support space exploration more that some football team.
I have to agree. Despite all of the amazing things we accomplished through the shuttle program, it was still an overall failure when it came to its expectations, cost, and reuse-ability. The cost of overhaul and repairs on a "used" shuttle was somewhere around five times as expected. Some NASA officials have even said that it would have been cheaper in some cases to just build a whole new shuttle instead of making a used one space worthy again. I'm still extremely proud of all of the shuttle crews and the NASA engineers that made it possible. But if only the program lived up to its expectations, who knows where it'd be now.
People tend to forget that the Shuttles also carried military missions on it such as spy satellites.
And so whats your point? Yeah they carried lots of things and did a great job of it. The men and women who crewed them deserve our thanks not some little whininy thing complaining about a big bad spy sat that every country that can has also put up there.
DOD did rely on the shuttle for some of its payloads until the Challenger disaster. The loss of Challenger not only prompted DOD to begin relying exclusively on expendable boosters; it also killed the idea of using Vandenburg Air Force Base in California for polar-orbit shuttle launches. Space Launch Complex 6 at Vandenburg had been outfitted to launch shuttles. The Challenger disaster, coupled with a design flaw that could have led to the buildup of hydrogen gas during the ignition sequence, scuttled those plans.
That's very interesting. Thanks for that post.
1.7 billion. Or about four fifths of a single B-2 bomber (we have 21 of those). When will America get her priorities straight and swap our science and military budgets?
Because without a military, the Chinese will come here and just take our science (instead of sending 'students' to steal it).
Well That's true. They already have a Gen Five fighter Jet. Hell even the Russians don't have that.
With what expeditionary forces do you expect the Chinese to come and steal all of the United States secrets? Yes they have supposedly massive manpower but they have bugger all means of moving them and certainly no means to control a population of 300+ million.
Is that 1991 dollars.
The B-2 was (roughly) 1991 dollars as well. If we swapped the military and science budgets, we would still have a sizeable defense force.
one word: TARDIS
One more word: 'reality'.
The space shuttle a Rolls-Royce? That was an excellent analogy, as the Royce is a symbol of wasting money to show off. The shuttles flew with too many crew, and too much of their time was spent on PR stunts, like teachers and schoolkid experiments, and launching vehicles that could have been launched in unmanned vehicles. Their was no need for human piloting, that was done because the astronauts knew that chimpanzees and dogs had sufficient expertise in the past, and automated systems by the time the shuttle flew.
Probably more of a Lincoln Navigator than a Rolls Royce. And compared to a Soyuz, most conveyances could be considered Royce-like. But luxury tags aside, the shuttle did something that automation could never, and will never, do – it put people, real humans, in place to make judgements and fine tune solutions that could not be anticipated by Earth-bound programmers and scientists. You rail against the fantastic costs of human space travel but you conveniently ignore the dumbed-down nature of robotic expeditions and the failure rate that still exists even with those. True, the shuttle never became the low-cost 'space truck' that was proposed to us a long time ago. But the answer isn't robots. The answer is to build a better truck.
PR stunts that kept the public interested in space travel, kept the space program funded, and led to developments like the internet and international telephony, not to mention 100s of other patents that have directly improved the US economy.. Considering the contributions to the US GDP of the ancillary industries that would not have existed without the shuttle program, NASA has had a 1000-fold return on investment on the program. Not to shabby for something you deem wasteful.
Sounds like someone has a serious case of "shuttle envy"...
Critics of the shuttle will soon be drowned out, if they aren't already, by those increasingly realizing what a fantastic machine it was that we sorely miss. The basic problem of the shuttle goes back to cost-cutting measures in its origin which led to its weird-looking (in comparison to what went before and surely will later) appearance at launch, with the shuttle orbiter alongside of instead of atop its fuel tank. That configuration was directly implicated in both shuttle accidents, whether it be Challenger's exploded fuel tank caused by an SRB O-ring, which an orbiter atop the fuel tank conceivably could have survived, or the fuel tank insulation strike on Columbia, which wouldn't have happened at all in a more sensible configuration. The bottom line is that we should never cut corners out of cost considerations in building crewed spacecraft.
Awwwww. Sounds like you got your feelings hurt they didn't pick you. The space program has brought a lot of technology to the world and has been money well spent (in general). Sometimes having human eyes on what's going on can provide improtant information for current and future missions. Besides, it's cool that people fly in space. Sorry you're a smug dork though – must stink to be you.
Wow, I always thought the crew was a little small for all the pr stuff. LOL I guess uneducated people have bad opinions of great technology because they cannot comprehend the achievements of man. This would put uneducated people on the same level as chimps and dogs. But then again I have met some real smart dogs that make their owners look stupid.
RR makes more than cars Dingbat!
All I have to say in order to completely counter your arguement is this: Hubble Repair Mission. I well remember staying up way past my bed time to watch, in awe, pairs of astronauts physically manhandling large modules into place in order to repair Hubble's optics. No robotic device, not even possible at the time, could have had the dexterity to perform such tasks, much less have the intelligence to close the doors. Use of the Come-Along was a stroke of genius and exhibts engineering at its best. While the shuttle was an expensive way to space, I would have much preferred to go to space that way than aboard a Soyuz. Just my $0.02 worth ...
The inherent problem with the space shuttle is that is was too big? No, the inherent problem with the space shuttle is that it stifled any further development in spaceflight, limiting us to low earth orbit. Nothing happened in space tech for 30 years, and now we basicallly have no space program at all....
We should have been to Mars and landed by now with a manned mission, and should have built some sort of spacecraft in earth orbit to do mulitple missions around the solar system....Face it, we lost our way in space exploration in the 1970's....
your kidding, right? Landed men on Mars already? Wow, you truly are a science fiction person. Have any idea the kind of technology that would be required to make that flight? It is not that the shuttle limited man's creativity, it is that man's limited creativity prevented the space program to develop a means of faster travel. Sending humans to Mars now is basically a death sentence due to the time it takes to reach Mars. We do not have the knowledge of hyperspeed (warp) speed travel. We can not come close to so called "warp" speed (light speed). The blackbird is the fastest known aircraft and it goes Mach 4, about 3.5 times the speed of sound, considerable slower than required for interplanetary travel.
Stop reading science fiction novels and expecting it relate to real life.
Maybe you should READ a few books, and try to dream a little more.
You do realize that when you leave Earth's atmosphere and gravity you can travel much faster than the Blackbird. The Blackbird was the fastest plane to fly in the atmosphere. Anything in Earth orbit needs to be traveling at about 17,500 mph to stay there, about mach 23. They have already determined that they can make it to Mars in about 4-6 months. Pick up a book once in a while.
"it goes Mach 4, about 3.5 times the speed of sound..." Really, only 3.5 times? Really?
Remember, we went to the moon based on calculations made by guys with slide rules and log tables, not supercomputers. A flight to Mars would be feasible based on the size of the payload, the time needed to travel there and back and whatever crew is needed. Currently our technology would probably not support an actual landing, and the time and opportunities for a flyover with a couple of orbits followed by the return trip would take months, not the week we took for the moon.
One possibility would be to assemble whatever craft we plan on using and to launch it from the ISS instead of from Earth. The components could be shuttled up for assembly and provisioning a lot cheaper than the launch of such a vehicle would be from Earth based on overcoming our gravity.
And just think – if two bicycle makers hadn't dreamed their dream then heavier than air flight would have taken a lot longer to materialize.
Apollo 10 set the record for the highest speed attained by a manned vehicle at 39,897 km/h (11.08 km/s or 24,791 mph). This is MUCH faster than the blackbird, which was just an airplane designed to fly in the earth's atmosphere.
America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
In 1953, America overthrow Iran's democratic government and installed a brutal dictator Shah of Iran. America helped Shah to established secret police and killed hundreds of thousands of Iranians.
During Iran-Iraq war, America helped Saddam Hussein and killed one million Iranians. America is the only country that shot down Iran's civilian air plain and killed all 290 passengers.
In 2003, America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and displaced 4,000,000+ Iraqi people.
Now, America is a failed country with huge debt. Its debt will be 24 trillion by 2015.
Every other day a city in America is declaring bankruptcy. ha ha ha ha ha ha
And the entire middle east is still a toilet. What's your point? That the idiocy and lack of any discipline or motivation other than to kill innocent civilians by religious zealots who don't even understand their own religious teachings is somehow America's fault? Wake up and look in the mirror.
Who's number 1? ha ha ha ha ha
and your point is?
What America really needs is a new form of space propulsion. We need to figure out Gravity. That's where we need to spend money. We need the Super Collider built in Texas.
This is already happening. Please look Dr. Franklin Chang-Diaz. He is working on a new propulsion system.
The problem with the shuttle is that it's inherently too big. All that surface area creates heat problems on re-entry. Not sure if any new replacement will resolve that issue. The Russians' admittedly antiquated modules have proven to be safer in comparison, and much cheaper to operate.
Maybe they should make a smaller reentry module reserved for the crew, separate from the cargo module. The cargo module can be remote-controlled back to Earth. The re-entry module can either drop down separately or stay on the vehicle and act as an "escape pod".
The re-entry module acts as a "launch" module as well, potentially providing escape-pod capability in case something goes wrong with the launch.
jdoe – The Original design of the Space shuttle was about half the size of the final version and would have been considerably cheaper and more fuel efficient than the final design! It was the Pentagon that determined the original design was "too small" for their secret payloads that were being FORCED upon the Shuttle project to accept! The NASA shuttle team was not given any CHOICE nor any INPUT into those particular "requirements" that were imposed for the supposed sake of "National Defense"!
The reason for the Challenger disaster was the O-Ring seals. The boosters were in sections so work could be FARMED OUT to to other states. This was a POLITICAL, not an engineering move. The V2 Rocket has no O-Rings... You see, they could not move the full length of a shuttle booster by train, so the split it up!!!
V2's blew up on their own a considerable amount of the time, o-rings or not.
you're comparing apples and oranges.
Few people realize that much of the whole space program is built on tragedy as a foundation. From the German V2 onward. Alas, to me this means that we can look beyond hate and corruption and find some good.
huh-just goes to show doesn't it? $1.7 billion to build a new shuttle. In 2011 it was said a B2 Spirit stealth bomber cost $2.4 billion a piece (of which 21 were built). Sad isn't it that we can spend such extreme amounts to kill each other but balk are refreshing the fleet of shuttles and work on bettering mankind.
I find all this backlash against the military quite absurd. Sure we build stealth bombers, aircraft carriers and submarines to the tune of billions of dollars. The point is that we hope to never use them in a time of war. The objective is strategic deterrence. To let nations know that we have the capability to use such weaponry.
As for the shuttle missions. It is truely a great piece of history that unfortunately had to come to an end. What is sad is that the government has shown no real intention of continuing space exploration and would rather show their interest in promoting social programs that enforce government dependency.
Our species has always valued death more than exploration.
Not true. Our country has always valued freedom and personal liberty, which unfortunately comes at a great cost. It is the brave men and women who fight and defend this great nation that allowed the space mission to continue uninterrupted all these years, even with the crises that were arising in the Middle East, Africa, Yugoslavia, etc. It is their dedication and self sacrifice we should applaud and thank every day we breathe, for without them, we would not be a free and independent nation, good times or bad, this is still the best damn country on earth !! I for one, am proud to be an American and prouder still of our military, strong, yet compassionate of others.
Interesting history on the Endeavor shuttle.
Bad enough to know we're using the Russkies to get into space in old style space capsules (1960s technology) instead of building a new, better, shuttle to get into space, maybe back to the moon. Who knows ?
Maybe the Dreamcaster shuttle might get off the ground. And, I nominate that the first Dreamcaster shuttle that rolls out be named "ENTERPRISE" in honor of the Space Shuttle and the Star Trek series.
There has already been a shuttle named "Enterprise". This was one of the first full-size shuttle mock-ups that was used to test aerodynamics and other pre-production concerns, but was never built to actually fly.
It glided, which is actually flying in a way. Air and Space Museum in Virginia, it is a sight to behold. And I'm from Canada!
It is not in the Air and Space Musuem anymore. I saw it lift off from Dullas Airport on the back of a 747 several months ago headed to New York and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. It is being replaced by Discovery at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia.
Well said GT66. We've heard they're working on a replacement but of course budget cuts will be the end of it.
Imagine if we could tell Kennedy that American astronauts can only get to space on a Russian rocket now. Tragic!
A symbol of what a Great Country can do when its people are more concerned with Progress than with cutting Government ( and taxes ).
Becuase of bloated governement and excessive taxes that have crippled our economy great programs like the Shuttle end up getting cut because the other liberal sacred cows suck up all the resources. Take an economics course Bill. Watch Milton Friedman on Youtube and learn something.
I doubt that you would be extolling Milton Friedman if he were an "independent with a small i and a Democrat with a capital D" instead of a Republican.
Excessive taxes? You mean those decade old tax breaks that stimulated our economy? Oh wait, thats right, the tax breaks just made millionaires and billionaires richer.
The real sacred cow dragging down the federal budget is the war cow, somewhere between one half and one trillion dollars per year.
of better still when companies were more willing to lend assistance in producing what was designed than gouging the hell out fo the government (people) to make a profit !!! How times have changed. If War broke out now, we would be hard pressed to do what was done in World War II where business converted factories at the behest of government to achieve a common goal and turn out war machines rather than commercial machines. Sad how far we have fallen from the greatest generation alive. We are slowly killing their spirit and memory and sacrifices.
I will always remember the Hubble "service call." It was amazing enough that we could invent and send into an orbit a telescope such as the Hubble, but when it wasn't performing well (it was out of focus, for one thing) we had the capability to repair it in space. All those great photos you see are the result of the repair.
Just look at that machine. America built that. America had the vision, the ambition, the pioneering spirit and the money to carry it out. Now we're a broke a ss country buried in debt, selling out our jobs and nation to China and slowly drifting into a third world status governed by fundamentalist shills just looking to loot their next dollar while stoking their over inflated egos.
We do it because we can. Yes we can!
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