Space Shuttle Endeavour

Space Shuttle Endeavour
Space Shuttle Endeavour
Space Shuttle Endeavour on launch pad 39A prior to mission STS-127, May 31, 2009
OV designation OV-105
Country United States
Contract award July 31, 1987
Named after HMS Endeavour (1764)
Status Retired
First flight STS-49
May 7, 1992 – May 16, 1992
Last flight


May 16, 2011 – June 1, 2011
Number of missions 25
Crews 148
Time spent in space 296 days, 3 hours, 34 minutes, 2 seconds
Number of orbits 4,671
Distance travelled 122,883,151 mi (197,761,262 km)
Satellites deployed 3
Mir dockings 1
ISS dockings 12
Endeavour as photographed from the International Space Station as it approached the station during STS-118
Endeavour straddling the stratosphere and mesosphere

Space Shuttle Endeavour (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-105) is one of the retired orbiters of the Space Shuttle program of NASA, the space agency of the United States.[1] Endeavour was the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger. Endeavour first flew in May 1992 on mission STS-49 and its last mission STS-134 was in May 2011.[2][3] The STS-134 mission was originally planned as the final mission of the Space Shuttle program,[4] but with authorization of the STS-135 mission, Atlantis became the last Space Shuttle to fly.

The United States Congress authorized the construction of Endeavour in 1987 to replace Challenger, which was lost in the STS-51-L launch accident in 1986. Structural spares built during the construction of Discovery and Atlantis, two of the previous shuttles, were used in its assembly. NASA chose to build Endeavour from spares rather than refitting Enterprise or accepting a Rockwell International proposal to build two shuttles for the price of one of the original shuttles, on cost grounds.

The orbiter is named after the British HMS Endeavour, the ship which took Captain James Cook on his first voyage of discovery (1768–1771).[5] This is why the name is spelled in the British English manner, rather than the American English ("Endeavor"). This has caused confusion, most notably when NASA themselves misspelled a sign on the launch pad in 2007.[6] The name also honored Endeavour, the Command Module of Apollo 15, itself also named after Cook's ship.

Endeavour was named through a national competition involving students in elementary and secondary schools. Entries included an essay about the name, the story behind it and why it was appropriate for a NASA shuttle, and the project that supported the name. Endeavour was the most popular entry, accounting for almost one-third of the state-level winners. The national winners were Senatobia Middle School in Senatobia, Mississippi, in the elementary division and Tallulah Falls School in Tallulah Falls, Georgia, in the upper school division. They were honored at several ceremonies in Washington, D.C., including a White House ceremony where then-President George H.W. Bush presented awards to each school.[7]

Endeavour was delivered by Rockwell International Space Transportation Systems Division in May 1991 and first launched a year later, in May 1992, on STS-49. Rockwell International claimed that it had made no profit on Space Shuttle Endeavour, despite construction costing US$2.2 billion. On its first mission, it captured and redeployed the stranded INTELSAT VI communications satellite. The first African-American woman astronaut, Mae Jemison, was brought into space on the mission STS-47 on September 12, 1992.

In 1993, it made the first service mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Endeavour was withdrawn from service for eight months in 1997 for a retrofit, including installation of a new airlock. In December 1998, it delivered the Unity Module to the Zarya module of the International Space Station.

Endeavour completed its latest Orbiter Major Modification period, which began in December 2003, and ended on October 6, 2005. During this time, the Orbiter Vehicle-105 received major hardware upgrades, including a new, multi-functional, electronic display system, often referred to as glass cockpit, and an advanced GPS receiver, along with safety upgrades recommended by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) for shuttle return to flight after the disintegration of sister-ship Columbia during re-entry on February 1, 2003.

The STS-118 mission, the first for Endeavour following a lengthy refit, included astronaut Barbara Morgan, formerly assigned to the Educator Astronaut program, but now a full member of the Astronaut Corps, as part of the crew. Morgan was the backup for Christa McAuliffe on the ill-fated STS-51-L mission.


Upgrades and features

Endeavour mounted on a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft
Endeavour approaches LC39A before STS-130
Endeavour in flight en route back to the Kennedy Space Center atop a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in 2008

As it was constructed later, Endeavour was built with new hardware designed to improve and expand orbiter capabilities. Most of this equipment was later incorporated into the other three orbiters during out-of-service major inspection and modification programs. Endeavour’s upgrades include:

  • A 40-foot (12 m) diameter drag chute that reduced the orbiter's rollout distance by 1,000 to 2,000 feet (300 to 610 m).
  • The plumbing and electrical connections needed for Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO) modifications to allow up to a 28-day mission (although a 28-day mission was never attempted; the record is 17 days, which was set by Columbia).
  • Updated avionics systems that included advanced general purpose computers, improved inertial measurement units and tactical air navigation systems, enhanced master events controllers and multiplexer-demultiplexers, a solid-state star tracker and improved nose wheel steering mechanisms.
  • An improved version of the Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) that provided power to operate the Shuttle's hydraulic systems.

Modifications resulting from a 2005–2006 refit of Endeavour include:

  • The Station-to-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS), which converted 8 kilowatts of DC power from the ISS main voltage of 120VDC to the orbiter bus voltage of 28VDC. This upgrade allowed Endeavour to remain on-orbit while docked at ISS for an additional 3- to 4-day duration. The corresponding power equipment was added to the ISS during the STS-116 station assembly mission, and Endeavour flew with SSPTS capability during STS-118.[8][9][10]


Platforms around Endeavour in the Orbiter Processing Facility-2
Space Shuttle Endeavour docked to the ISS for the last time.

Endeavour flew its final mission, STS-134, to the International Space Station (ISS) in May 2011. After the conclusion of STS-134, Endeavour was formally decommissioned.

Endeavour was originally scheduled to be decommissioned in 2010 after 18 years of service, but on July 1, 2010, NASA released a statement saying the Endeavour mission was rescheduled for February 27, 2011, instead of late November, 2010.[11]

"The target dates were adjusted because critical payload hardware for STS-133 will not be ready in time to support the previously planned September 16 launch," NASA said in a statement. With the Discovery launch moving to November, Endeavour mission "cannot fly as planned, so the next available launch window is in February 2011," NASA said, adding that the launch dates are subject to change.

The launch was once again postponed until April 29, 2011, in order to avoid a scheduling conflict with a Russian supply vehicle heading for the International Space Station.[12]

The launch was finally carried out on May 16, 2011. Shuttle Endeavour's last mission, STS-134, was a successful launch at 8:56 EST. [13]

Endeavour completed its final mission with a landing at the Kennedy Space Center at 6:34 UTC on June 1, 2011.[14] Over its flight career, Endeavour flew 122,853,151 miles and spent 299 days in space.[15] While flying Endeavour's last mission, the Russian spacecraft Soyuz TMA-20 departed from the ISS and paused at a distance of 200 meters. Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli took a series of photographs and videos of the ISS with Endeavour docked.[16] This was the second time a Shuttle had been photographed while docked and the first time since 1996. Commander Mark Kelly was the last astronaut off Endeavour after the landing, and the crew stayed on the landing strip long enough to sign autographs and pose for pictures. With commander Mark Kelly and pilot Gregory Johnson at the controls, Endeavour's touchdown was the 25th time a shuttle performed a night landing.[17][18]

One final mission, STS-135, was added to the schedule in January 2011, and Atlantis is allocated to fly for the last time in July 2011.

NASA offered the three remaining orbiters for museum donation once they are withdrawn from service. After more than twenty organizations submitted proposals to NASA for the display of an orbiter, NASA announced that Enterprise will go to New York's Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, Discovery will go the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum, Atlantis will remain in the Visitor Complex at Kennedy Space Center, and Endeavour will go to the California Science Center.[19][20][21]

Endeavour's Canadarm will be removed and sent to a yet-to-be-determined museum in Canada, while the other two Canadarms will remain in the shuttles.[22]


# Launch date Designation Launch pad Landing location Notes
1 1992-05-07 STS-49 39-B Edwards Air Force Base First flight of Endeavour: Capture and redeploy Intelsat VI. First three-man EVA, longest US EVA since Apollo 17.
2 1992-09-12 STS-47 39-B Kennedy Space Center Spacelab mission J
3 1993-01-13 STS-54 39-B Kennedy Deploy TDRS-F
4 1993-06-21 STS-57 39-B Kennedy Spacelab experiments. Retrieve European Retrievable Carrier
5 1993-12-02 STS-61 39-B Kennedy First Hubble Space Telescope service mission (HSM-1)
6 1994-04-09 STS-59 39-A Edwards Space Radar Laboratory experiments
7 1994-09-30 STS-68 39-A Edwards Space Radar Laboratory experiments
8 1995-03-02 STS-67 39-A Edwards Spacelab Astro-2 experiments
9 1995-09-07 STS-69 39-A Kennedy Wake Shield Facility and other experiments
10 1996-01-11 STS-72 39-B Kennedy Retrieve Japanese Space Flyer Unit
11 1996-05-19 STS-77 39-B Kennedy Spacelab experiments
12 1998-01-22 STS-89 39-A Kennedy Rendezvous with Mir space station and astronaut exchange
13 1998-12-04 STS-88 39-A Kennedy International Space Station assembly mission (assembled the Unity Module (Node 1), first American component of the ISS)
14 2000-02-11 STS-99 39-A Kennedy Shuttle Radar Topography Mission experiments
15 2000-11-30 STS-97 39-B Kennedy International Space Station assembly mission (P6 truss segment)
16 2001-04-19 STS-100 39-A Edwards International Space Station assembly mission (Canadarm2 robotic arm and hand)
17 2001-12-05 STS-108 39-B Kennedy International Space Station rendezvous and astronaut exchange (Expedition 3/Expedition 4)
18 2002-06-05 STS-111 39-A Edwards International Space Station rendezvous and astronaut exchange (Expedition 4/Expedition 5)
19 2002-11-23 STS-113 39-A Kennedy International Space Station assembly mission and astronaut exchange/final successful shuttle flight before the Columbia disaster (Expedition 5/6 exchange; P1 truss segment assembly)
20 2007-08-08 STS-118 39-A Kennedy Four spacewalks conducted.[23] Installation of the International Space Station S5 Truss, of the Integrated Truss Structure. Carried a SPACEHAB module carrying 5,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. Crew included the Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan. Thermal tiles protecting the underside of the vehicle were damaged during launch. NASA decided not to fix this damage in-flight as it was not believed to be serious enough to result in loss of vehicle or crew. The craft landed a day early due to the possibility that Hurricane Dean would force Mission Control to evacuate.
21 2008-03-11 STS-123 39-A Kennedy International Space Station assembly mission which delivered the first element of Japan's Kibo module along with the Canadian Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator robotic arm, and the Spacelab Pallet-Deployable 1.
22 2008-11-14 STS-126 39-A Edwards[24] International Space Station assembly mission that brought equipment and supplies in the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo, and Expedition 18 crew rotation, Sandra Magnus replaced Gregory Chamitoff. Endeavour was the only orbiter to land on the temporary Runway 4 at Edwards AFB, as the refurbished main runway will be operational from STS-119 onwards.[25]
23 2009-07-15 [26] STS-127 39-A Kennedy International Space Station assembly mission which delivered the last two elements of Japan's Kibo Module along with the Spacelab Pallet-Deployable 2, and an Integrated Cargo Carrier-Vertical Light Deployable.[27]
24 2010-02-08 STS-130 39-A Kennedy International Space Station assembly mission which delivered the Node 3 and the Cupola observatory to the station. This brought the ISS to 98 percent completion.
25 2011-05-16 STS-134 39-A Kennedy International Space Station assembly mission which delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and the ELC-3 to the space station. This was the final mission of Endeavour. Although originally planned to be the last space shuttle program flight, one additional flight of Atlantis, STS-135, was flown in July 2011.

‡ Longest shuttle mission for Endeavour

Tribute and mission insignias

NASA Orbiter Tribute for Space Shuttle Endeavour
Space Shuttle Endeavour Tribute.jpg
Mission insignia for Endeavour mission flights
STS 54
STS 57
STS 61
STS 59
STS 68
STS 67
STS-69 patch.svg
STS 69
STS 72
STS 77
STS 89
STS 88
STS 99
STS 97
STS 100
STS-118 patch new.png
STS-123 patch.png
STS-126 patch.png
STS-127 patch.png
STS-130 patch.png
STS 108
STS 111
STS 113
STS 118
STS 123
STS 126
STS 127
STS 130
STS-134 patch.png
STS 134


ISS and Endeavour seen from the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft 29.jpg

Endeavour docked to theISS for the final time as seen from Soyuz TMA 20

STS-130 exhaust cloud engulfs Launch Pad 39A.jpg

STS-130 launches

See also


  1. ^ "Space Shuttle Overview: Endeavour (OV-105)". NASA. Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  2. ^ "STS-49". NASA KSC. Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  3. ^ "Endeavour completes final mission; NASA has one left -". June 1, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  4. ^ "Consolidated Launch Manifest". NASA. Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  5. ^ John F. Kennedy Space Center - Space Shuttle Endeavour
  6. ^ "Shuttle's Name Misspelled On NASA Launch Pad Sign". WKMG-TV. Retrieved July 14, 2007. 
  7. ^ "The Naming Of The Space Shuttle Endeavour". NASA. Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  8. ^ "Vehicle Upgrades: Station-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS)". Boeing: Integrated Defense Systems. [dead link]
  9. ^ "NASA Presolicitation Notice: Station-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS)". NASA. Retrieved 2011-06-30. 
  10. ^ "NASA's Space Shuttle Processing Status Report: S05-034". NASA. December 2, 2005. 
  11. ^ NASA - NASA Updates Shuttle Target Launch Dates For Final Two Flights
  12. ^ "Unmanned Russian cargo ship heads for space station". CNN. February 2, 2003. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Endeavour completes final mission; one flight left for NASA". CNN. June 1, 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  15. ^ Space Shuttle Endeavour Lands Safely in Florida - ABC News
  16. ^ Soyuz TMA-20 captures historic photography prior to perfect landing |
  17. ^ Endeavour's last landing sparks pride and sadness - Technology & science - Space -
  18. ^ Endeavour ends final mission with smooth landing | The Space Shot - CNET News
  19. ^ Simon, Richard (August 14, 2010). "With shuttles becoming museum pieces, cities vie to land one". Los Angeles Times. 
  20. ^ Discovery's final home 'up in the air' -
  21. ^ "NYC, L.A., Kennedy Space Center, Smithsonian to get the 4 retired space shuttles". USA Today. April 12, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Endeavour's Canadarm coming home". CBC. April 12, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Space Shuttle Mission STS-122". May 24, 2009. Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  24. ^ NASA (November 30, 2008). "NASA RSS archive". NASA. Retrieved November 30, 2008. 
  25. ^ Bergin, Chris (November 30, 2008). "Endeavour lands at Edwards to conclude STS-126". Retrieved November 30, 2008. 
  26. ^ "NASA – NASA's Shuttle and Rocket Launch Schedule". Retrieved July 17, 2009. 
  27. ^ "STS-127 MCC Status Report #32". NASA. July 31, 2009. Retrieved August 1, 2009. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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