Endeavour's final launch moved to April 29

By Phil Plait | April 4, 2011 11:59 am

The final scheduled launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavour has been moved from April 19 to April 29. The earlier date would have interfered with a Russian Progress vehicle that is scheduled to send supplies to the International Space Station on the 29th. I know, that sounds funny, but a 2-week long Shuttle mission means it would have been docked to the ISS during the Progress mission, so it’s better to launch the Shuttle once Progress is already up there.

The date isn’t set in stone yet, so those of you planning a vacation around the launch should stay tuned. But I’ll be honest: with delays and all that, actually planning travel around a Shuttle launch is pretty risky, as is obvious from this 10-day rescheduling. But if you happen to be in Florida for the launch, terrific! It truly is an amazing thing to watch.

I’ll have more news on the launch here as I find it.

Related posts:

Endeavour’s final walk down the aisle
Amazing Shuttle launch video from an airplane window
Discovery’s last moment in the Sun


Comments (14)

  1. Buxley

    We’re going to be in Florida for a week around the original launch date and was hoping to see Endeavour launch. I was lucky enough to see Shuttle Columbia land back in 1982 (STS-5) so I still consider myself one of the fortunate few to see these spaceships in action.


  2. David H

    Didn’t they know the Progress launch schedule long in advance? I would think that such conflicts would be seen a lot earlier than a month away.

  3. It seems odd that this announcement came only after some really nasty storms ripped through Florida last week after Endeavour was already on the pad. I have the same question as David H.: didn’t they know in advance that the Progress vehicle was scheduled to go up? Or was the Progress launch something that was just added to the schedule?

  4. Sarah

    Rats. I was looking forward to a sunset launch.

    I think the issue was being negotiated with the Russians. They were hoping that the “Progress” could loiter until Endeavour left.

    See http://www.spaceflightnow.com/shuttle/sts134/status.html
    for details. Or NASA, of course.

  5. Gus Snarp

    I’ve thought about planning a vacation around the launch since my parents live nearby and I could easily have a perfectly nice vacation without the launch, but it just isn’t going to work out in my schedule. I’m pretty bummed actually, I saw plenty of shuttle launches from the center of the state, I never saw one close up.

  6. I saw lots of launches when I lived in Florida, but never close up. Fortunately, I know a guy who knows a guy and finally got to watch one from the up close and personal VIP area of the Banana Creek viewing area last year…the Atlantis launch last May.

    I was in Sanford in 1999 when the shuttle with the Chandra X-ray telescope launched. It was a night launch and I watched CNN in the hotel lobby and ran outside just in time to see it rise over the horizon. Fortunately, I started my stop watch. Two minutes and forty seconds after launch, we heard a low rumble. Even at that distance you could hear the launch! I was timing it and about 70 seconds after hearing the initial sound, we heard the engines throttle up.

  7. Gus Snarp

    I think if it was postponed due to storm damage, they’d just say it was storm damage. That’s nothing new.

  8. Benjamin

    I planned my vacation last year around STS-131. I took all the vacation days I had so I could have absorbed a delay of up to 10 days. The shuttle went up at the exact second it was supposed to so I was lucky and got a week of lazy beach after and got to see the boosters towed in as bonus. I feel very lucky.

  9. Messier Tidy Upper

    So the shuttle’s ending is further drawn out and prolonged again. :-(

    Saw a news item earlier today about a Russian rocket launch to the International Space Station – successful – but just not the same & not as impressive as the Shuttles. These are marvellous spaceplanes & I’m sad to see them go. We’re losing a capacity here that will, I fear, be sorely missed. :-(

    Still, timing~wise this suits me, personally, better so that’s good. Thanks, BA, for keeping us up-to-date on this . :-)

  10. sophia8

    So nobody’s commenting on the fact that April 29th is also the date for that wedding? When the entire world’s media will be focussed on London, and nobody will be watching some pootling little Shuttle launch?

  11. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ sophia8 : That wedding? *What* wedding, there’s a wedding now? 😉

    For one I’ll be watching the Space Shuttle launch (assuming its on NASA TV as usual which I’d expect) and NOT the Royal wedding.

    Did you forget a 😉 emoticon there or were you being serious, sophia8?

    Just a thought but what PR triumph it could be for NASA to combine those clashing events and host the wedding aboard the Shuttle just prior to its docking with the International Space Station? After all, Kate and Wills are launching an “endeavour” of sorts too! Could be apt and would certainly be a notable, memorable first. Of course, that might make the royal honeymoon somewhat .. awkward! 😉

  12. Chet Twarog

    Agreed, Buxley. Our KSC launch day pass (19 Apr) and tickets will be here today. However, school vacation week 18-22 April can not be extended till 29th or later. We’ll just have to watch Endeavour launch on CNN or MSNBC or TWC or NASA-TV.
    Quite glad I saw Atlantis launch in May.
    Anyways, less crowded at KSC and Astronaut Hall of Fame and lighter traffic, too.

  13. Denise

    It’s been about 90 days since we have had representation in Washington D.C. It is time for Governor Brewer to make a special appointment since it is obvious Giffords cannot perform her legislative duties.http://bit.ly/jysGYO


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