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2nd-to-last Space Shuttle Flight

May 16, 2011, by Ken Jorgustin

space-shuttle-endeavour-final-launch
credit: NASA

Although the Space Shuttle program has aged during its 30-year history, it is a sad day to witness the second-to-last shuttle flight, and the last for ‘Endeavour’, which was built to replace ‘Challenger’ which exploded during 1986.

This is the 25th and final flight of space shuttle Endeavour, which will deliver the ‘Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’ and spare parts to the International Space Station. Following the mission, Endeavor will end its days at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

NASA is winding down its 30-year-old shuttle program while one space flight remains for the shuttle ‘Atlantis’ during July, 2011. American astronauts will now hitch rides to the space station on Russian Soyuz rockets. Once Atlantis flies the last mission, it will be three years – at best – before Americans are launched again from U.S. soil. Some NASA observers fear it could be a full decade.

I had the good fortune of watching a live space shuttle launch a number of years ago, a night launch, and will never forget seeing and ‘feeling’ the awesome power as it soared into the night sky, the booster rocket’s crackling roar and flames lighting up as if daylight.

Too bad that the American government can’t shut down a War or two, and instead keep some decent funding for a program like NASA, which ultimately brings new technologies to our modern lives.

Watch and listen to Endeavor’s live mission coverage here:

LIVE COVERAGE FROM SPACEFLIGHT NOW