Endeavour sets wheels to Earth one last time

By Phil Plait | June 1, 2011 9:30 am

Last night, at 06:35 UTC, the Space Shuttle Orbiter Endeavour came down from space for the last time, safely landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

[Click to embiggen.]

On its last mission, Endeavour traveled over 10 million km (6.5 million miles) and the mission lasted for 15 days, 17 hours, 38 minutes, and 51 seconds. Since its first launch in 1992, it flew a total of 25 missions — it was built to replace Challenger, the first of two Orbiters lost — most notably, for me at least, was the first Hubble Space Telescope reservicing mission in late 1993.

Endeavour was named after the famed ship sailed by Captain James Cook. This was the same ship he took in 1769 to the South Pacific to observe the very rare transit of Venus across the Sun’s face, in the hopes of determining the size and scale of the solar system. Quite the legacy.

As I wrote when Discovery touched down for the last time: I’d say "Welcome home", but the ground is not a spaceship’s home.

Related posts:

Stunning pic of Endeavour’s last spacedock
Endeavour’s eye view of her last launch
ISS checks Endeavour out

CATEGORIZED UNDER: NASA, Piece of mind, Space

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