People gather on the lawn as the space shuttle Endeavour takes its last launch. photo/NASA TROY CRYDER


Yesterday half a million people watched as the space shuttle Endeavour launched its final launch.

Thousands of spectators gathered to witness this historic moment.

“[Watching the launch] was really cool because I was in [New] Symrna so we got to see it without all the buildings and city lights.  It was really cool,” senior Katelyn Edwards said.

The lift-off for space shuttle Endeavour was supposed to happen on April 29, however, an electrical glitch caused an almost two week delay.  During the eight and half minute shuttle launch, NASA officials reported that the three engines worked well.  The source of the electrical issue in one of the power engines performed near perfect.

However, nearly two hours before the rescheduled take-off, one of the fragile ceramic tiles was damaged when the crew closed the hatch.  Before the lift-off NASA technicians repaired the problem.

Forty minutes into the launch the shuttle fired other engines in order to alter the orbit so  Endeavour can meet the International Space Station on Wednesday. When the shuttle lands, the astronauts will work on their 16-day mission; Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.  The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer cost $2 billion and is a giant magnet that will search for particles in the “dark matter”.

After the 1986 explosion of the Challenger, the space shuttle Endeavour was built. The first flight was in 1992 and this is its 25th.  After the June 1 return, the Endeavour will on display in a science museum.

Kennedy Space Center has been the home to every human space shuttle launch since 1968.  Only one more lift-off is scheduled in July.  NASA will return launches in 2020.  Shuttles are aging and becoming more costly to maintain, however in NASA is working on new projects such as telescopes and robotic missions.

“[Watching the launch with my family] was meaningful because it was the last one [we would watch together] because we would always watch it together and now we can’t,” Edwards said.

By admin

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