Endeavour successfully launched today from the Kennedy Space Center at approximately 8:56 am eastern for its 25th and final mission. Mission STS-134 headed by Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori, will last 16 days.
During the 16-day mission, Endeavour and its crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank and additional spare parts for Dextre.
The flight is Endeavour's 25th since a maiden voyage in 1992. The youngest shuttle orbiter was built as a replacement for Challenger, the shuttle destroyed in a 1986 launch accident that killed seven astronauts. Endeavour has traveled 116,372,930 miles, spent 283 days in space and has had a total of 4,423 orbits since its first mission. After returning to earth in 16 days time Endeavour will be retired to a Los Angeles museum.
photo credit: NASA