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May 17, 2011

Photo Gallery: Space Shuttle Endeavour Leaves Earth One Last Time

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By: Suresh Atapattu
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Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-134 liftoff
(Photo by Suresh Atapattu)
PAD 39A, CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida. — Space shuttle Commander Mark Kelly and his crew are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at 8:56 am EDT Monday. The STS-134 mission is the penultimate orbiter flight and the final one for shuttle Endeavour.

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Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-134 liftoff

(Photo by Suresh Atapattu)

The crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS) and critical supplies to the space station, including two communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank and additional parts for the Dextre robot. AMS is a particle physics detector designed to search for various types of unusual cosmic matter. The crew also will transfer Endeavour’s orbiter boom sensor system to the station, where it could assist spacewalkers as an extension for the station’s robotic arm.

Kelly’s crewmates are Pilot Greg H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Mike Fincke, Drew Feustel, Greg Chamitoff and Roberto Vittori of the European Space Agency. This is the first shuttle flight for Fincke and Vittori. A native of Italy, Vittori will be the last non-American astronaut to fly aboard a shuttle.

Endeavour is scheduled to dock to the station at 6:15 a.m. on Wednesday. The 16-day mission includes four spacewalks.

Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-134 liftoff

(Photo by Suresh Atapattu)

 
 

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