NASA space shuttle Endeavour made its final flight landing on the runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center at 2:34 am EDT after the completion of STS-134 mission. Endeavour's astronauts gave a brief review during STS-134 crew news conference.
Endeavour's next 'mission' will be attracting guests to the California Science Center museum in Los Angeles. On April 12, NASA Administrator General Charles Bolden said Endeavour will be decommissioned and go to the California Science Center for permanent display.
During the STS-134 mission, the space shuttle delivered a $2 billion cosmic ray detector, called Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS), which will remain mounted on the International Space Station for the next decade, and the Express Logistics Carrier-3. Endeavour landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida after 248 orbits around Earth and a journey of 6,510,221 miles.
The crew members for Endeavour's STS-134 mission are Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Gregory Johnson, Mission Specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori.
I think we all should be really impressed how big and magnificent that space station is, said STS-134 Mission Specialist Michael Fincke at the crew press conference following landing. Describing their parting view of the space station where he served once as crew and once as commander, he said, We were impressed; we were excited like five-year olds at a rollercoaster park.
After a 19-year career and 299 days spent in space, the youngest NASA shuttle Endeavour's main gear touched down at 2:34:51 and followed by the nose gear at 2:35:04 and wheels stopped at 2:35:36 am. STS-134 was the 25th and final flight for Endeavour orbited Earth 4,671 times and traveled 122,883,151 miles.
Xenon lights help lead space shuttle Endeavour home to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. AMS will help researchers understand the origin of the universe and search for evidence of dark matter, strange matter and antimatter from the station. Express Logistics Carrier-3 carried spare parts that will sustain station operations once the shuttles are retired from service.
What a great ending to this really wonderful mission, said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations. About the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, Gerstenmaier said, They're getting great data from their instrument on board the space station. It couldn't have gone any better for this mission.
Kelly and his crew are scheduled to return to Houston on Thursday. Before leaving orbit, Kelly said he was looking forward to seeing his wife, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat. The congresswoman is recovering from a January 8 assassination attempt.
Meanwhile, NASA crew is preparing to launch the Atlantis space shuttle on July 8 to the International Space Station as part of the STS-135, which is the last planned space shuttle mission since STS-1 on April 12, 1981.
Space shuttle Atlantis just completed its 3.4 mile trek from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A and was secured to the launch pad at 3:29 am. The move began last night at 8:42 pm and took about 7 hours, NASA said in a statement.
We've had a lot going on here, said Mike Moses, space shuttle launch integration manager, Being able to send Atlantis out to the pad and then go out and land Endeavour was really a combination I never expected to have.
Take a glimpse of the crew members of space shuttle Endeavour setting foot at Kennedy Space Center after final landing: