Endeavour's last flight: April 29

By Phil Plait | April 19, 2011 3:41 pm

NASA has just announced that the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final flight to space will be on Friday, April 29, at 15:47 EDT (19:47 UT).

This flight will be notable for several reasons, besides the obvious. For one, it will bring the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 to the station. For another, it will feature the last suite of Shuttle astronaut spacewalks; four in total. Also, the Commander is Mark Kelly, husband of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in Arizona in January. There are plans for her to attend the launch, which would be very nice.

I will be on travel that day (as usual, sigh) but I might be home in time to watch the flight and live tweet it. If not, stay tuned to NASA TV to watch it live. You can get more info on the Shuttle at NASA’s site.

After this 14 day flight, there is one more scheduled Shuttle flight: Atlantis, in June.


Comments (13)

  1. This is a good date and time for Europe, as it means NW Europe will see the Shuttle and detached external tank pass in twilight as a close duo, some 20 minutes after launch.

  2. Electro

    Marco, could you give some pointers as to where and when to look, from northeast England. Please, if its not too much trouble.

    Naked eye or will mid-power binocs do it?

  3. Doug

    I know NASA’s launch schedule still shows a June date for the final Shuttle launch, but I was at Kennedy Space Center yesterday, and attended a 15-minute “mission briefing” they hold every hour or so at the visitor center (near the fake Shuttle), and that guy said the final launch would be in July. Completely unconfirmed of course, but I did take a good look at his badge and unlike most other employees at the visitor center who are subcontractors without gov’t-issued badges, his was a NASA gov’t badge. Maybe there is behind-the-scenes talk of moving it a week or two because of the current launch’s date change?

  4. Earl

    I hope the launch is not too late in July. I’m getting laid-off on July 22.

  5. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Earl : Damn. My sympathies. Hope you’ve got another job lined up or find one soon. :-(

    @ 2. Electro : The Shuttle can be seen with unaided human eyesight – I remember seeing it pass overhead when Adelaide* astronaut Andy Thomas was aboard on one of his flights.

    I’m planning on watching on the penultimate Shuttle launch on NASA-TV.

    * My hometown.

  6. dcsohl

    Dammit. I’m in central Florida in late June… returning home on June 29th, the day after the current scheduled launch date. I’m really hoping to be able to drive over from Orlando to see the launch. If it gets pushed to July I’ll be mighty disappointed. Especially since I was in southern Florida in early November, and planning a long drive up to see Atlantis, but then STS-133 got scrubbed until February. I just can’t seem to win.

  7. Tim


    Your link to “NASA TV” has a little typo in it.


  8. gss_000

    @1. Marco

    Is it a good day for Europe? That’s the date of the royal wedding. There may be a little conflict. ūüėČ

  9. #8 gss_ooo:
    A substantial proportion of the UK population don’t actually give a rodent’s posterior about the Royal Wedding! I won’t see the shuttle passing over, as I’ll be 6000 miles from the UK on that date – partly because it’s the Royal Wedding!!!

  10. Will Mattsson

    “On travel?” Is that your horse? Or, did you mean traveling?

  11. Calli Arcale

    Will — “on travel” is a standard way of indicated why you are unavailable for a particular duration. It usually implies business travel (hence the grammatically incorrect phraseology, which seems to really please business types). I expect to be on travel next month, and hopefully will not miss too much of Endeavour’s mission coverage. ūüėČ

  12. Adam T

    #2: Viewing opportunities in Europe: A very helpful chap (“Space Pete” on the NasaSpaceFlight.com forum) told me how this would work. You can use the Nasa Sightings tool (http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/) and pick your country/city and it will tell you the ISS viewing possibilities for the next few days. On Friday 29th, for me, this is at 9:32pm BST. As the shuttle launches at 8:47pm BST and takes about 20mins to get over the UK it should arrive around 9:05-9:10 (depending on when in the launch window it goes) and will be in the same viewing vicinity as the ISS as it has launched into the same orbit (albeit a bit lower as it spends the next couple of days catching up). Apparently the slightly earlier time should improve the sun angles but, unfortunately, it’s due to rain a lot on Friday so I may miss out. Depending on where in Europe you are things may be better for you…

  13. Electro

    Thank you for viewing info, fellow Bablogees.

    Now, who do I blame the weather on?


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