Space Mission: Endeavour Launch Finally Scheduled For Monday From Kennedy- UPDATED

Hopefully, this is it! The last flight of the space shuttle Endeavour, STS-134, will take place on Monday, the 16th of May. The launch is scheduled for 08:56 AM, EST, or 12:56 GMT from the Kennedy Space Center.

The flight was originally scheduled on 29th April, at 1947 GMT. It was scrubbed following some technical difficulties with the thermostats.

The mission managers say that they have ‘really high confidence’ in the shuttle and the problem has been fixed. Mike Moses, the mission management team chair said:

In our minds we are good to go and we have no problems expected with this APU heater anymore in this count.

The weather also seems to be co-operating. There is a 70 percent chance that the Kennedy Space Center weather will be co-operative for the launch. However, there may be winds at the emergency landing site and a low cloud ceiling.

You can watch the live coverage, streamed to you in HD, on NASA TV, here. If you’re interested in the schedule, it’s available to the public here.

Endeavour on the launch pad (Courtesy: NASA)

This shuttle launch is crucial and significant for NASA, not only because it is the last of the Endeavour missions, but also because it is the penultimate flight of NASA’s 30 year space shuttle program.

The Obamas met the astronauts shortly after the launch was scrubbed (Courtesy: NASA)

With everything on schedule, and NASA taking a cautious steps, Endeavour is set to make a date with history. It is set to deliver the $2 billion anti-matter hunter, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, to the International Space Station, and complete 16 days in orbit. The mission will also include four space walks to prepare the shuttle for unmanned, ground based control.

It looks promising this time. Hopefully for the final time, from all here at TB, we wish the crew of Endeavour and NASA the very best of luck.


And It’s Off…

The Shuttle launch proceeded without any hitch from the Kennedy Space Center right on schedule. All systems were reported to be operational. In a few hours, on Wednesday, the shuttle will be undergoing the docking procedure with the International Space Station. The anti-matter detector on board, AMS, will be installed either on the next day or the day after. The STORRM  – a laser guided docking procedure – will be tested shortly after docking. The astronauts will be completing spacewalks around this time and after this. All of this will be telecasted live on NASA HD TV.

Photo taken by NASA just after liftoff. (Courtesy: NASA)

The mission is surely off to a good start.


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Debjyoti Bardhan

Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.