Entries in Endeavour (24)


Space Shuttle Endeavour Hits Los Angeles for Final Journey

NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis(LOS ANGELES) -- Space shuttle Endeavour embarked on its final mission Friday, traveling through the streets of South Los Angeles to reach its new home at the California Science Center.

The 165,000-pound shuttle will be on the road for two days as it makes the 12-mile trip from Los Angeles International Airport, where it had been since late September.  Once it arrives at the CSC, it will be put on permanent display.

Endeavour was built after the loss of the shuttle Challenger in 1986 and became NASA’s fifth space shuttle orbiter.  It made its first flight in 1992 and in its 25 missions, it orbited the Earth more than 4,600 times and spent 299 days in space.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly Watch Endeavour Space Shuttle Fly Over Tucson

NASA/ Robert Markowitz(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- The space shuttle Endeavour arrived in California Thursday after taking a detour over Tucson as former astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, watched from a rooftop at the University of Arizona.

Kelly, Endeavour's last commander, asked Wednesday that Endeavour make a detour and fly over Tucson, so that Giffords could see it one last time.

The last-minute suggestion was a bit of a surprise to NASA, but it put out a statement saying it would honor Kelly’s request.

“As part of the delivery of Endeavour to Los Angeles, Endeavour will be flown over the city of Tucson,” said the agency.  “NASA decided to honor that request to pay our respects to a long-time agency supporter in former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Kelly, who commanded Endeavour’s final mission, STS-134. The flight over Tucson will add no additional time or cost to the delivery of Endeavour.”

Kelly was training for the flight in January 2011 when Giffords was wounded in an assassination attempt in Tucson, where she was meeting with people from her district.  After weeks of watching to see how she was recovering, Kelly decided to go ahead with the flight.   It was bittersweet, but he had been training for two years with his crew, and said he had had faith in the medical team treating his wife.

This week Endeavour, now retired like the other space shuttles, flew a victory lap across the South, taking off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, dropping from 14,000 feet to 1,500 to circle historic locations in space shuttle history.

On Wednesday, the orbiter, on top of its 747 carrier plane, circled over Houston and the Johnson Space Center. Endeavour then headed to El Paso Thursday, where it refueled and went on to Edwards Air Force Base, north of Los Angeles.

On Friday it will fly to Los Angeles International Airport, and then it will be prepped for transport through city streets to its final home -- as a permanent display at the California Science Center.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Los Angeles Wants Space Shuttle Endeavour, But Must 400 Trees Be Cut?

NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis(LOS ANGELES) -- It was supposed to be a spectacular event including a two-day parade, but the space shuttle Endeavour’s final 12-mile journey through the streets of South Los Angeles has some residents protesting, because 400 trees would have to be chopped down to clear the shuttle’s intended path from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center.

Although the science center, or CSC, where Endeavour is to go on display, said it would plant twice as many trees in their place, tree lovers are still not convinced.

Claudine Jasmin, a resident of South Los Angeles, said she goes to the CSC all the time and loves having it in the neighborhood, but does not think it’s worth losing the trees. She said they bring squirrels and a variety of birds.

“My parents have lived in this neighborhood since before I was born, and we have these big pine trees on our street, and I’m sure it took forever for them to grow. They are beautiful,” Jasmin said.  “It would be really, really horrendous to see all these years of a tree’s growth completely diminished for one parade.”

Eddie North-Hager, publisher of, a local online news and social network, said despite the loss of trees, Endeavour’s arrival will be a good thing for the neighborhood.

“There is a lot of concern over street trees and everyone wants to work to make sure they are replaced and taken care of and have the same caretaking as there is now,” North-Hager said. “Everyone is concerned that baby trees will replace trees that have been there forever … I do hope they put in more than saplings and do expect they will take care of them until they reach a maturity where they can take care of themselves.”

Endeavour, built after the loss of the shuttle Challenger in 1986, became NASA’s fifth space shuttle orbiter. It made its first flight in 1992 and in its 25 missions, it orbited the Earth more than 4,600 times and spent 299 days in space.

Endeavour needs to be towed from the airport to the museum. Planners said they chose wide streets and minimized obstacles, because power lines will be extended and traffic signals cleared from the shuttle’s path.

But according to an estimate in the Los Angeles Times, 128 trees will be removed in the city of Inglewood and South Los Angeles will lose approximately 265 trees.  Pine, ficus and other trees in Inglewood have already been chopped down by construction crews.

“I think our neighborhood loves the CSC and owes a great deal of our children’s education to that institution and it’s free to go there,” North-Hager said. “It’s one of the five shuttles in the country and it’s amazing that we are getting that and that it’s going to our neighborhood. We love our street trees and it’s one of the things that makes Leimert Park so special. It’s my understanding that CSC is going to remove the least possible.”

In total, the CSC said it plans to spend $500,000 to improve the city streets. Replanting of trees is expected to begin a few weeks after Endeavour’s final journey.

But some residents are still not convinced.

“I don’t think replanting is enough to cover up the void that would be around after these trees are cut down,” Jasmin said. “There are kids and families in this neighborhood that are used to seeing these trees every day, and waiting years for them to grow back the way they were would be too disheartening.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Space Shuttles Discovery, Endeavour Swap Places at Space Center

Space shuttle Discovery pictured on right. NASA/Frankie Martin(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) -- In a rare sight, two of NASA's now-retired space shuttles were seen being moved late Thursday from one building to another at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Space shuttle Discovery was removed from the Vehicle Assembly Building and transported into the Orbiter Processing Facility, where Endeavour formerly resided.  Endeavour, in turn, swapped places with Discovery, moving into the assembly building.

Both orbiters have already been stripped of their engines and thrusters so that they can be shipped off to museums where they will spend the rest of their days.

Discovery will be sent to the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles Airport in Virginia, while Endeavour is scheduled to go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.  The other surviving space shuttle, Atlantis, will be displayed at the Kennedy Space Center visitors' center.

NASA's 30-year space shuttle program came to an end on July 21 when Atlantis returned from the International Space Station after a 13-day mission -- the final one for the program.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Space Shuttle Endeavour Lands Safely in Florida

NASA TV(MERRITT ISLAND, Fla.) -- The space shuttle Endeavour and its crew returned safely to the Kennedy Space Station in Merritt Island, Florida at 2:35 a.m. EST Wednesday, completing the 134th and penultimate flight of the 30-year-old space shuttle program.

The six member crew of NASA's second-to-last shuttle flight -- which included Commander Mark Kelly, who is returning to his wife, shooting victim Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords -- returned to Earth after a 16-day mission.

"The space shuttle is an amazing vehicle to fly though the atmosphere … on behalf of the entire crew I want to thank all of the people that worked on the mission … it's sad to see her land for the last time, she really has a great legacy," Kelly said upon landing.

Endeavour came in on a three-mile-long runway at approximately 226 miles per hour.  Two sonic booms sounded at around 2:32 a.m. ET after a flawless re-entry.

Following a smooth undocking from the International Space Station late on Sunday, Kelly steered the shuttle through its critical re-entry and the long glide over the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Gulf of Mexico and into Florida, according to NASA.  Greg H. Johnson was the pilot.

The astronauts, all veterans of previous flights, added the last major components to the U.S. section of the International Space Station, including the delivery of a $2 billion cosmic ray detector called Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS), which will remain mounted on the space station for the next decade.

The cosmic ray detector will be searching for antimatter and dark matter, which scientists hope will shed light on the origins of the universe.  The AMS could prove or disprove the Big Bang Theory of how our universe was born.

There is only one more flight left on the shuttle schedule, a July 8 mission by the shuttle Atlantis, which which will bring a close to the 30-year program.  Atlantis' flight will be a less scientifically significant mission, a two day haul to the space station.  A crew of four -- "The Final Four," they have dubbed themselves -- will stuff the space station with as much equipment, food and miscellaneous items as the orbiter can carry.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Space Shuttle Endeavour Headed Home for Last Time

NASA TV(HOUSTON) -- Space shuttle Endeavour and its crew will finally return to Earth early Wednesday morning, completing one of NASA's final shuttle flights, a program that was launched almost 30 years ago.

Having departed the International Space Station late Sunday, Endeavour's entry flight control team will evaluate weather conditions at the landing site at Merritt Island, Florida before giving the approval to land, according to NASA

The 25th and final flight for Endeavour also marks the final shuttle flight for the six-man crew aboard Endeavour.  The seasoned astronauts are wrapping up a 16-day mission, during which they completed assembly of the U.S. section of the International Space Station.

Endeavour's crew includes Commander Mark Kelly, Greg Johnson, who's piloting the mission, spacewalkers Mike Fincke, Drew Feustel, and Greg Chamitoff, and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori, who's handling robotics.

"To see the horizon out there, with all that hardware beneath you and to understand what we've done as a nation and as a world to build that international space station; it's spectacular," Astronaut Drew Feustel said.

Spacewalker Fincke, who has spent months living on the space station in years past, now holds the U.S. record for time in space, at 380 days.  "I hope my record is soon broken," Fincke said.

The most important project on this journey for the crew is to aid in the explanation of possible origins of the universe; the astronauts hauled Endeavour into space so they can search for "unusual" kinds of matter.

Endeavour delivered a $2 billion cosmic ray detector, called Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS), which will remain on the space station for the next decade.  The cosmic ray detector is searching for antimatter and dark matter, which scientists hope will shed light on the origins of the universe.

The mission, which also included adding finishing touches on the orbiting lab while adding an extension beam and a platform full of spare parts, has been a complete success for NASA. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Endeavour Undocks from Space Station, Heads Back to Earth

NASA TV(HOUSTON) -- Space shuttle Endeavour undocked from the International Space Station late Sunday night and is now on its way back to Earth.

Before getting on course to return home, the six-man crew on board had a rendezvous with the ISS shortly after separating from it to test a systems visual navigation system known as the Sensor Test for Orion Relative-navigation Risk Mitigation, or STORRM.  NASA said "the system is being developed for use on future spacecraft."

During their stay at the ISS, the astronauts also installed a $2 billion alpha magnetic spectrometer, which could prove or disprove the Big Bang Theory of how the universe was formed, and conducted four spacewalks.  They will complete their 16-day mission when they arrive back on Earth on Wednesday, June 1.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mark Kelly to Hold Video Chat with Wife Gabrielle Giffords

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- Astronaut Mark Kelly plans to hold a video chat from space on Friday with his wife, Arizona Congressman Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from a gunshot wound she received to the head in January.

Speaking to reporters Thursday morning from Endeavour, which docked with the International Space Station last week, the space shuttle's commander said he's "looking forward to talking to her."

"I've been speaking with her every night before I go to bed," Kelly said.  "It's her morning.  But it will be nice to do it via video, be able to see how she's doing and her to join us aboard the space station for a little bit."

Kelly said he plans to hold the video chat in the cupola of the ISS to give Giffords "a chance to look outside, look at the space shuttle docked to the space station."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Endeavour Crew Chats with Tucson School Kids from Space

NASA(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Elementary school classmates of the youngest victim of the deadly January Tucson, Ariz., shootings that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. severely wounded, chatted Sunday with space shuttle Endeavour astronauts Mark Kelly and Mike Fincke while they were in orbit.

The Sunday night talk at Mesa Verde Elementary School was a priority for Kelly, the father of two teenage girls, and the husband of Rep. Giffords. Kelly has been haunted by Christina's death, and he told ABC News' Diane Sawyer earlier this year it agonized him when he thought about it.

One thing Kelly could give was his time, and that's why students crowded into school on a Sunday night to talk to the astronauts. He told them that when he was Christina's age, "I was watching Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, and I told myself that if I worked really hard, maybe one day I would have the opportunity to fly in space, and I did work hard and it did work out. It was those early Apollo astronauts like Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan that inspired me."

Endeavour Cmdr. Mark Kelly Answers Questions From Orbit

Q: How long does it take to get to space?

Kelly: We go from zero to 17,500 mph in 8 minutes and 20 seconds. When those main engines start, it's like being on a runaway train that is going 1000 mph.

Q: How fast do you go?

Kelly: Right now, we are going 17,500 mph. We see a sunrise and sunset every 45 minutes. If you go outside in spacewalk, it is in the vacuum of space. Even though you are going fast it is not like sticking your arm out the window of a car. You don't feel the air rushing by.

At the end of the session, Kelly showed the students a scrapbook he brought into space for them that he would give to Mesa Verde Elementary School after Endeavour lands in June.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Endeavour Astronauts Conduct First Spacewalk of Mission

NASA TV(HOUSTON) -- Two crew members aboard space shuttle Endeavour on Friday took part in the first spacewalk of the shuttle's 16-day mission.

Astronauts Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff floated in space to perform some basic maintenance work on the International Space Station and retrieve some experiments stashed outside the orbiting outpost.

Friday's spacewalk is the fourth for Feustel and the first for Chamitoff.  It's the first of four spacewalks Endeavour's six-man crew has planned during their time in space.

A day before, the astronauts installed a $2 billion alpha magnetic spectrometer on the ISS, which could prove or disprove the Big Bang Theory of how the universe was formed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio