Space Shuttle Endeavour Sails To Home Port For Final Time
STS-134 was the last mission for the youngest of NASA's space shuttle fleet. Since 1992, Endeavour flew 25 missions, spent 299 days in space, orbited Earth 4,671 times and traveled 122,883,151 miles.
"We are very proud of Endeavour's legacy, and this penultimate flight of the space shuttle program once again demonstrated the amazing skill and dedication of our astronauts and the entire workforce," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "As we begin the transition from the shuttle program to the commercial transportation of our crews and cargo, our ability to tackle big challenges remains steadfast and will ensure that NASA reaches even more destinations farther in the solar system."
Mark Kelly commanded the flight and was joined by Pilot Greg H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Mike Fincke, Drew Feustel, Greg Chamitoff and the European Space Agency's Roberto Vittori. Endeavour delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS), beginning a scientific voyage of discovery to our solar system and beyond from the International Space Station. By measuring cosmic rays, AMS is designed to help researchers understand the origin of the universe and search for evidence of dark matter, strange matter and antimatter.
Endeavour also delivered the Express Logistics Carrier-3, a platform carrying spare parts that will sustain space station operations once the shuttles are retired from service. The astronauts performed four spacewalks to maintain station systems and install new components.
These were the last scheduled spacewalks by shuttle crew members and brought the final number of shuttle excursions to 164. During 159 spacewalks for assembly and maintenance of the space station, astronauts and cosmonauts have spent a total of 1,002 hours and 37 minutes outside.
Fincke set a new record for time a U.S. astronaut has spent in space when he reached his 377th day on May 27, surpassing previous record holder Peggy Whitson. With today's landing, Fincke's record now is at 382 days in space.
A welcome ceremony for the astronauts will be held Thursday, June 2, in Houston. The public is invited to attend the 4 p.m. CDT event at Ellington Field's NASA Hangar 990. Gates to Ellington Field will open at 3:30 p.m. Highlights from the ceremony will be broadcast on NASA Television's Video File. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules and links to streaming video, visit: