Final Mission Accomplished for Endeavour
June 1, 2011 — “Welcome home, Endeavour.” With that greeting from mission control, space shuttle Endeavour concluded its 25th and final mission early Wednesday morning with a perfect landing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida following the 6.5 million-mile, 16-day STS-134 mission to the International Space Station. Endeavour - the youngest of NASA’s space shuttle fleet – flew a total of 122,883,151 miles since 1992, spent 299 days in space, and orbited Earth 4,671 times.
Meanwhile, Atlantis is at the launch pad getting ready for STS-135 - the final flight of the shuttle program, planned to launch July 8.
STS-134, under command of Mark Kelly, delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS) and the Express Logistics Carrier-3, a platform carrying spare parts that will sustain space station operations once the shuttles are retired from service. STS-134 astronauts performed four spacewalks - the last scheduled by shuttle crew members - and brought the final number of shuttle excursions to 164. During 159 spacewalks, astronauts and cosmonauts have spent a total of 1,002 hours, 37 minutes outside.
Another record was set by mission specialist Mike Fincke: most time spent in space by a U.S. astronaut - 382 days.
The public is invited to attend a 4 p.m. CDT welcome ceremony for the astronauts on Thursday, June 2, at Ellington Field’s NASA Hangar 990 in Houston. Gates open at 3:30 p.m.
“We are very proud of Endeavour’s legacy, and this penultimate flight of the space shuttle program once again demonstrated the amazing skill and dedication of our astronauts and the entire workforce,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “As we begin the transition from the shuttle program to the commercial transportation of our crews and cargo, our ability to tackle big challenges remains steadfast and will ensure that NASA reaches even more destinations farther in the solar system.”