Space Shuttle Endeavour

Last updated
STS-127 Launch Pad 39A.jpg
Space Shuttle Endeavour on launch pad 39A prior to mission STS-127, May 31, 2009
OV designation OV-105
CountryUnited States
Contract awardJuly 31, 1987
Named after HMS Endeavour (1764)
StatusRetired, displayed at California Science Center in Los Angeles, California
First flight STS-49
May 7, 1992 – May 16, 1992
Last flight STS-134
May 16, 2011 – June 1, 2011
No. of missions25
Crew members173
Time spent in space296 days, 3 hours, 34 minutes, 2 seconds
No. of orbits4,671
Distance travelled122,883,151 mi (197,761,262 km)
Satellites deployed3
Mir dockings1
ISS dockings12

Space Shuttle Endeavour (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-105) is a retired orbiter from NASA's Space Shuttle program and the fifth and final operational Shuttle built. It embarked on its first mission, STS-49, in May 1992 and its 25th and final mission, STS-134, in May 2011. [1] [2] [3] STS-134 was expected to be the final mission of the Space Shuttle program, [4] but with the authorization of STS-135, Atlantis became the last shuttle to fly.

Each NASA space shuttle designation was composed of a prefix and suffix separated by a dash. The prefix for operational shuttles is OV, for Orbiter Vehicle.

Space Shuttle orbiter Reusable spacecraft component of the Space Shuttle system

The Space Shuttle orbiter was the spaceplane component of the Space Shuttle, a partially reusable orbital spacecraft system that was part of the Space Shuttle program. Operated by NASA, the U.S. space agency, this vehicle could carry astronauts and payloads into low Earth orbit, perform in-space operations, then re-enter the atmosphere and land as a glider, returning its crew and any on-board payload to the Earth.

NASA space-related agency of the United States government

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.


The United States Congress approved the construction of Endeavour in 1987 to replace Challenger, which was destroyed in 1986.

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Space Shuttle <i>Challenger</i> Space shuttle orbiter

Space Shuttle Challenger was the second orbiter of NASA's space shuttle program to be put into service, after Columbia. Challenger was built by Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division, in Downey, California. Its maiden flight, STS-6, began on April 4, 1983. The orbiter was launched and landed nine times before breaking apart 73 seconds into its tenth mission, STS-51-L, on January 28, 1986, resulting in the death of all seven crew members, including a civilian school teacher. It was the first of two shuttles to be destroyed in flight, the other being Columbia, in 2003. The accident led to a two-and-a-half-year grounding of the shuttle fleet; flights resumed in 1988, with STS-26 flown by Discovery. Challenger was replaced by Endeavour, which was built from structural spares ordered by NASA in the construction contracts for Discovery and Atlantis.

Space Shuttle <i>Challenger</i> disaster In-flight breakup of spacecraft on January 28, 1986

On January 28, 1986, the NASA shuttle orbiter mission STS-51-L and the tenth flight of Space ShuttleChallenger (OV-99) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members, which consisted of five NASA astronauts, one payload specialist and a civilian school teacher. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 11:39 a.m. EST. The disintegration of the vehicle began after a joint in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. The failure was caused by the failure of O-ring seals used in the joint that were not designed to handle the unusually cold conditions that existed at this launch. The seals' failure caused a breach in the SRB joint, allowing pressurized burning gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the outside and impinge upon the adjacent SRB aft field joint attachment hardware and external fuel tank. This led to the separation of the right-hand SRB's aft field joint attachment and the structural failure of the external tank. Aerodynamic forces broke up the orbiter.

Structural spares built during the construction of Discovery and Atlantis were used in its assembly. NASA chose, on cost grounds, to build Endeavour from spares rather than refitting Enterprise or accepting a Rockwell International proposal to build two Shuttles for the price of one.[ citation needed ]

Space Shuttle <i>Discovery</i> Space shuttle orbiter

Space Shuttle Discovery is one of the orbiters from NASA's Space Shuttle program and the third of five fully operational orbiters to be built. Its first mission, STS-41-D, flew from August 30 to September 5, 1984. Over 27 years of service it launched and landed 39 times, gathering more spaceflights than any other spacecraft to date. The shuttle has three main components: the orbiter, a central fuel tank, and two rocket boosters. Nearly 25,000 heat resistant tiles cover the orbiter to protect it from high temperatures on re-entry.

Space Shuttle <i>Enterprise</i> Space shuttle

Space Shuttle Enterprise was the first orbiter of the Space Shuttle system. Rolled out on September 17, 1976, it was built for NASA as part of the Space Shuttle program to perform atmospheric test flights after being launched from a modified Boeing 747. It was constructed without engines or a functional heat shield, and was therefore not capable of spaceflight.

Rockwell International 1973-2001 aerospace manufacturer

Rockwell International was a major American manufacturing conglomerate in the latter half of the 20th century, involved in aircraft, the space industry, both defense-oriented and commercial electronics, automotive and truck components, printing presses, power tools, valves and meters, and industrial automation. Rockwell ultimately became a group of companies founded by Colonel Willard Rockwell. At its peak in the 1990s, Rockwell International was No. 27 on the Fortune 500 list, with assets of over $8 billion, sales of $27 billion and 115,000 employees.


Endeavour rollout ceremony in April 1991 Endeavour rollout ceremony.jpg
Endeavour rollout ceremony in April 1991
Endeavour as photographed from the International Space Station as it approached the station during STS-118 STS-118 approaching ISS.jpg
Endeavour as photographed from the International Space Station as it approached the station during STS-118
Endeavour appears to straddle the stratosphere and mesosphere in this photo taken from the International Space Station Endeavour silhouette STS-130.jpg
Endeavour appears to straddle the stratosphere and mesosphere in this photo taken from the International Space Station

The orbiter is named after the British HMS Endeavour, the ship which took Captain James Cook on his first voyage of discovery (1768–1771). [5] This is why the name is spelled in the British English manner, rather than the American English ("Endeavor"). This has caused confusion, including when NASA itself misspelled a sign on the launch pad in 2007. [6] The Space Shuttle carried a piece of the original wood from Cook's ship inside the cockpit. [7] The name also honored Endeavour, the Command Module of Apollo 15, which was also named after Cook's ship.

HMS <i>Endeavour</i> Royal Navy research vessel

HMS Endeavour, also known as HM Bark Endeavour, was a British Royal Navy research vessel that Lieutenant James Cook commanded to Australia and New Zealand on his first voyage of discovery from 1768 to 1771.

James Cook 18th-century British explorer

Captain James Cook was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. He made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.

First voyage of James Cook combined Royal Navy and Royal Society expedition to the south Pacific

The first voyage of James Cook was a combined Royal Navy and Royal Society expedition to the south Pacific Ocean aboard HMS Endeavour, from 1768 to 1771. It was the first of three Pacific voyages of which Cook was the commander. The aims of this first expedition were to observe the 1769 transit of Venus across the Sun, and to seek evidence of the postulated Terra Australis Incognita or "unknown southern land".

Endeavour was named through a national competition involving students in elementary and secondary schools. Entries included an essay about the name, the story behind it and why it was appropriate for a NASA shuttle, and the project that supported the name. Endeavour was the most popular entry, accounting for almost one-third of the state-level winners. The national winners were Senatobia Middle School in Senatobia, Mississippi, in the elementary division and Tallulah Falls School in Tallulah Falls, Georgia, in the upper school division. They were honored at several ceremonies in Washington, D.C., including a White House ceremony where then-President George H. W. Bush presented awards to each school. [8]

Senatobia, Mississippi Place in Mississippi, United States

Senatobia is a city in and the county seat of Tate County, Mississippi, and is the 16th largest municipality in the Memphis Metropolitan Area. The population was 8,165 at the 2010 census.

Tallulah Falls School

Tallulah Falls School is a private boarding and day school located in the town of Tallulah Falls, Georgia, United States, within Habersham and Rabun Counties. The school is located on a wooded campus in northeast Georgia on the southern slopes of Cherokee Mountain at the foothills of the Appalachian chain. The school was founded in 1909 by Mary Ann Lipscomb of Athens.

Tallulah Falls, Georgia Town in Georgia, United States

Tallulah Falls is a town in Habersham and Rabun counties in the U.S. state of Georgia near the Tallulah River. The population was 168 at the 2010 census. It started out in the 1880s as a tourist town for the multitude of visitors to Tallulah Falls.

Endeavour was delivered by Rockwell International Space Transportation Systems Division in May 1991 and first launched a year later, in May 1992, on STS-49. Rockwell International claimed that it had made no profit on Space Shuttle Endeavour, despite construction costing US$2.2 billion.[ citation needed ]

STS-49 human spaceflight

STS-49 was the maiden flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. The primary goal of its nine-day mission was to retrieve an Intelsat VI satellite, attach it to a new upper stage, and relaunch it to its intended geosynchronous orbit. After several attempts, the capture was completed with a three-person extra-vehicular activity (EVA). This was the first time that three people from the same spacecraft walked in space at the same time, and as of 2014 it was the only such EVA. It would also stand until STS-102 in 2001 as the longest EVA ever undertaken.


On its first mission, it captured and redeployed the stranded INTELSAT VI communications satellite. The first African-American woman astronaut, Mae Jemison, was launched into space on the mission STS-47 on September 12, 1992.

Endeavour flew the first servicing mission STS-61 for the Hubble Space Telescope in 1993. In 1997 it was withdrawn from service for eight months for a retrofit, including installation of a new airlock. In December 1998, it delivered the Unity Module to the International Space Station.

Endeavour's last Orbiter Major Modification period began in December 2003 and ended on October 6, 2005. During this time, Endeavour received major hardware upgrades, including a new, multi-functional, electronic display system, often referred to as a glass cockpit, and an advanced GPS receiver, along with safety upgrades recommended by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) for the shuttle's return to flight following the loss of Columbia during reentry on 1 February 2003.

The STS-118 mission, Endeavour's first since the refit, included astronaut Barbara Morgan, formerly assigned to the Teacher in Space project, and later a member of the Astronaut Corps from 1998 to 2008, as part of the crew. Morgan was the backup for Christa McAuliffe who was on the ill-fated mission STS-51-L in 1986.

Early milestones

DateMilestone [9]
1982 February 15Start structural assembly of crew module (built as structural spare alongside Discovery and Atlantis) [10]
1987 July 31Contract award to Rockwell International
1987 August 1Start of Final Assembly
1987 September 28Start structural assembly of aft fuselage
1990 July 6Completed Final Assembly
1991 April 25Rollout from Plant 42, Palmdale, California
1991 May 7Delivery to Kennedy Space Center
1992 April 6Flight Readiness Firing (FRF)
1992 May 7First flight (STS-49)

Upgrades and features

Endeavour mounted on a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft Space Shuttle Transit.jpg
Endeavour mounted on a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft
Endeavour approaches LC-39A before STS-130 STS-130 Endeavour Rollout 6.jpg
Endeavour approaches LC-39A before STS-130
Endeavour in flight en route back to the Kennedy Space Center atop a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in 2008 STS-126 Endeavour atop carrier aircraft.jpg
Endeavour in flight en route back to the Kennedy Space Center atop a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft in 2008
Endeavour lands after STS-127 at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility. Space Shuttle Endeavour Lands at the Kennedy Space Center on July 31st, 2009..jpg
Endeavour lands after STS-127 at the Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility.

As it was constructed later than its elder sisters, Endeavour was built with new hardware designed to improve and expand orbiter capabilities. Most of this equipment was later incorporated into the other three orbiters during out-of-service major inspection and modification programs. Endeavour's upgrades include:

Modifications resulting from a 2005–2006 refit of Endeavour included:

Final flights

Platforms around Endeavour in the Orbiter Processing Facility-2 Platforms Around Endeavour In Orbiter Processing Facility-2.jpg
Platforms around Endeavour in the Orbiter Processing Facility-2
Space Shuttle Endeavour docked to the ISS for the last time. STS 134 Endeavour Docked.jpg
Space Shuttle Endeavour docked to the ISS for the last time.

Endeavour flew its final mission, STS-134, to the International Space Station (ISS) in May 2011. After the conclusion of STS-134, Endeavour was formally decommissioned. [14]

STS-134 was intended to launch in late 2010, but on July 1 NASA released a statement saying the Endeavour mission was rescheduled for February 27, 2011. [15]

"The target dates were adjusted because critical payload hardware for STS-133 will not be ready in time to support the previously planned 16 September launch," NASA said in a statement. With the Discovery launch moving to November, Endeavour mission "cannot fly as planned, so the next available launch window is in February 2011," NASA said, adding that the launch dates were subject to change. [16] [ citation needed ]

The launch was further postponed until April to avoid a scheduling conflict with a Russian supply vehicle heading for the International Space Station. [17] STS-134 did not launch until 16 May at 08:56 EDT. [18]

Endeavour landed at the Kennedy Space Center at 06:34 UTC on June 1, 2011, completing its final mission. [19] It was the 25th night landing of a shuttle. [20] [21] Over its flight career, Endeavour flew 122,883,151 miles and spent 299 days in space. [22] During Endeavour's last mission, the Russian spacecraft Soyuz TMA-20 departed from the ISS and paused at a distance of 200 meters. Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli took a series of photographs and videos of the ISS with Endeavour docked. [23] This was the second time a shuttle was photographed docked and the first time since 1996. Commander Mark Kelly was the last astronaut off Endeavour after the landing, and the crew stayed on the landing strip to sign autographs and pose for pictures.[ citation needed ]

STS-134 was the penultimate Space Shuttle mission; STS-135 was added to the schedule in January 2011, and in July Atlantis flew for the final time. [24]


Endeavour docked to the International Space Station on May 23, 2011, during its final mission. Endeavour docked to ISS.jpg
Endeavour docked to the International Space Station on May 23, 2011, during its final mission.
Endeavour moving through Los Angeles Space Shuttle Endeavor in Los Angeles - 2012 (37919560104).jpg
Endeavour moving through Los Angeles
Endeavour on display at the California Science Center Endeavour at California Science Center.jpg
Endeavour on display at the California Science Center

After more than twenty organizations submitted proposals to NASA for the display of an orbiter, NASA announced that Endeavour would go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles. [25] [26] [27]

After low level flyovers above NASA and civic landmarks across the country and in California, it was delivered to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on September 21, 2012. [28] The orbiter was slowly and carefully transported through the streets of Los Angeles and Inglewood three weeks later, from October 11–14 along La Tijera, Manchester, Crenshaw, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevards to its final destination at the California Science Center in Exposition Park. [29] [30]

Endeavour's route on the city streets between LAX and Exposition Park was meticulously measured and each move was carefully choreographed. [31] In multiple locations, there were only inches of clearance for the Shuttle's wide wings between telephone poles, apartment buildings and other structures. Many street light standards and traffic signals were temporarily removed as the Shuttle passed through. It was necessary to remove over 400 street trees as well, some of which were fairly old, creating a small controversy. [32] However, the removed trees were replaced two-for-one by the Science Center, using part of the $200 million funding for the move. [31]

The power had to be turned off and power carrying poles had to be removed temporarily as the orbiter crept along Manchester, to Prairie Avenue, then Crenshaw Boulevard. News crews lined the streets along the path with visible news personalities in the news trucks. Police escorts and other security personnel, among them including the LAPD, LASD, CHP, and NASA officials, controlled the large crowds gathered, with support from the LAFD and LACoFD to treat heat exhaustion victims as the Endeavour made its way through the city. [33] Endeavour was parked for a few hours at the Great Western Forum where it was available for viewing. [34] The journey was famous for an unmodified Toyota Tundra pickup truck pulling the Space Shuttle across the Manchester Boulevard Bridge. [35] The Space Shuttle was mainly carried by four self-propelled robotic dollies throughout the 12 mile journey. However, due to bridge weight restrictions, the Endeavour was moved onto the dolly towed by the Tundra. After it had completely crossed the bridge, the Space Shuttle was returned to the robotic dollies. The footage was later used in a commercial for the 2013 Super Bowl. [36] Having taken longer than expected, Endeavour finally reached the Science Center on October 14. [37]

The exhibit was opened to the public on October 30, 2012 at the temporary Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion of the museum. [34] A new addition to the Science Center, called the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, is under construction as Endeavour's permanent home. Planned for a 2017 opening, Endeavour will be mounted vertically with an external tank and a pair of solid rocket boosters in the shuttle stack configuration. One payload door will be open to reveal a demonstration payload inside. [34]

After its decommissioning, Endeavour's Canadarm (formally the 'Shuttle Remote Manipulator System') was removed in order to be sent to the Canadian Space Agency's John H. Chapman Space Centre in Longueuil, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, where it was to be placed on display. [38] In a Canadian poll on which science or aerospace museum should be selected to display the Canadarm, originally built by SPAR Aerospace, the Canadian Space Agency's headquarters placed third to last with only 35 out of 638 votes. [39] [40] Endeavour's Canadarm has since gone on permanent display at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. [41] [42] [43]

In August 2015 NASA engineers went to work on removing a few of the tanks from Endeavour so that they may be used as storage containers for potable water on the International Space Station. [44]


#Launch dateDesignationLaunch padLanding locationNotes
11992-05-07 STS-49 39-B Edwards Air Force Base First flight of Endeavour: Capture and redeploy Intelsat VI. First three-person EVA, longest US EVA since Apollo 17.
2 1992-09-12 STS-47 39-B Kennedy Space Center Spacelab mission J with the first African American woman in space, Mae Jemison
31993-01-13 STS-54 39-BKennedyDeploy TDRS-F
41993-06-21 STS-57 39-BKennedySpacelab experiments. Retrieve European Retrievable Carrier
51993-12-02 STS-61 39-BKennedyFirst Hubble Space Telescope service mission (HSM-1)
61994-04-09 STS-59 39-AEdwards Space Radar Laboratory experiments
Spaceborne Imaging Radar
71994-09-30 STS-68 39-AEdwards Space Radar Laboratory experiments
Spaceborne Imaging Radar
81995-03-02 STS-67 39-AEdwardsSpacelab Astro-2 experiments‡
91995-09-07 STS-69 39-AKennedyWake Shield Facility and other experiments
101996-01-11 STS-72 39-BKennedyRetrieve Japanese Space Flyer Unit
111996-05-19 STS-77 39-BKennedySpacelab experiments
121998-01-22 STS-89 39-AKennedyRendezvous with Mir space station and astronaut exchange
131998-12-04 STS-88 39-AKennedy International Space Station assembly mission 2A (assembled the Unity Module (Node 1), first American component of the ISS)
142000-02-11 STS-99 39-AKennedy Shuttle Radar Topography Mission experiments
152000-11-30 STS-97 39-BKennedy International Space Station assembly mission (P6 truss segment)
162001-04-19 STS-100 39-AEdwards International Space Station assembly mission 6A (Canadarm2 robotic arm and hand)
172001-12-05 STS-108 39-BKennedy International Space Station assembly mission UF-1, rendezvous and astronaut exchange (Expedition 3/Expedition 4)
182002-06-05 STS-111 39-AEdwards International Space Station assembly mission UF-2, rendezvous and astronaut exchange (Expedition 4/Expedition 5)
192002-11-23 STS-113 39-AKennedy International Space Station assembly mission 11A and astronaut exchange/final successful shuttle flight before the Columbia disaster (Expedition 5/6 exchange; P1 truss segment assembly)
202007-08-08 STS-118 39-AKennedyFour spacewalks conducted. [45] Installation of the International Space Station S5 Truss, of the Integrated Truss Structure. Carried a SPACEHAB module carrying 5,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. Crew included the Educator Astronaut Barbara Morgan. Thermal tiles protecting the underside of the vehicle were damaged during launch. NASA decided not to fix this damage in-flight as it was not believed to be serious enough to result in loss of vehicle or crew. The craft landed a day early due to the possibility that Hurricane Dean would force Mission Control to evacuate.
212008-03-11 STS-123 39-AKennedy International Space Station assembly mission 1J/A which delivered the first element of Japan's Kibo module along with the Canadian Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator robotic arm, and the Spacelab Pallet-Deployable 1.
222008-11-14 STS-126 39-AEdwards [46] International Space Station assembly mission that brought equipment and supplies in the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo, and Expedition 18 crew rotation, Sandra Magnus replaced Gregory Chamitoff. Endeavour was the only orbiter to land on the temporary Runway 4 at Edwards AFB, as the refurbished main runway will be operational from STS-119 onwards. [47]
232009-07-15 [48] STS-127 39-AKennedy International Space Station assembly mission which delivered the last two elements of Japan's Kibo Module along with the Spacelab Pallet-Deployable 2, and an Integrated Cargo Carrier-Vertical Light Deployable. [49]
242010-02-08 STS-130 39-AKennedy International Space Station assembly mission which delivered the Node 3 and the Cupola observatory to the station. This brought the ISS to 98 percent completion.
252011-05-16 STS-134 39-AKennedy International Space Station assembly mission which delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and the ELC-3 to the space station. This was the final mission of Endeavour. Although originally planned to be the last Space Shuttle program flight, one additional flight of Atlantis, STS-135, was flown in July 2011.

‡ Longest shuttle mission for Endeavour

Tribute and mission insignias

NASA Orbiter Tribute for Space Shuttle Endeavour
Space Shuttle Endeavour Tribute.jpg
Mission insignia for Endeavour mission flights
STS-59 mission insignia.svg
STS-69 patch.svg
STS-100 patch.svg
STS-108 Patch.svg
STS-113 Patch.svg
STS-118 patch new.svg
STS-123 Patch.svg
STS-126 patch.svg
STS-127 Patch.svg
STS-130 patch.png
STS-134 Patch.svg

Flow Directors

The Flow Director was responsible for the overall preparation of the Shuttle for launch and processing it after landing, and remained permanently assigned to head the spacecraft's ground crew while the astronaut flight crews changed for every mission. Each Shuttle's Flow Director was supported by a Vehicle Manager for the same spacecraft. Space Shuttle Endeavour's Flow Directors were:

California Science Center

Endeavour is currently housed in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion at the California Science Center in Exposition Park in South Los Angeles about two miles south of Downtown Los Angeles. A companion exhibit, "Endeavour: The California Story", features images and artifacts that relate the shuttle program to California, where the orbiters were originally constructed. [53] It has been planned for a new facility to be built with Endeavour attached to an external fuel tank (the last mission-ready one in existence as all others were destroyed during launch) and the two solid rocket boosters and raised in an upright position, as if Endeavour were to make one more flight.

In media

See also

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STS-134 was the penultimate mission of NASA's Space Shuttle program and the 25th and last spaceflight of Space ShuttleEndeavour. This flight delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and an ExPRESS Logistics Carrier to the International Space Station. Mark Kelly served as the mission commander. STS-134 was expected to be the final space shuttle mission if STS-135 did not receive funding from Congress. However, in February 2011, NASA stated that STS-135 would fly "regardless" of the funding situation. STS-135, flown by Atlantis, took advantage of the processing for STS-335, the Launch On Need mission that would have been necessary if the STS-134 crew became stranded in orbit.

Expedition 27 mission to the International Space Station

Expedition 27 was the 27th long-duration expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), starting on 16 March 2011. Expedition 27 saw numerous notable events, including the undocking of the Progress M-09M and Kounotori 2 spacecraft, the arrival of the Soyuz TMA-21 and Progress M-10M spacecraft, and the final rendezvous with the ISS of NASA's Space Shuttle Endeavour, on its last mission, STS-134. The expedition ended on 23 May 2011 with the departure of the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft, although command of the station was ceremonially handed over to the crew of Expedition 28 on 22 May.

STS-135 135th and final mission of the American Space Shuttle program

STS-135 was the 135th and final mission of the American Space Shuttle program. It used the orbiter Atlantis and hardware originally processed for the STS-335 contingency mission, which was not flown. STS-135 launched on 8 July 2011, and landed on 21 July 2011, following a one-day mission extension. The four-person crew was the smallest of any shuttle mission since STS-6 in April 1983. The mission's primary cargo was the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) Raffaello and a Lightweight Multi-Purpose Carrier (LMC), which were delivered to the International Space Station (ISS). The flight of Raffaello marked the only time that Atlantis carried an MPLM.

Space Shuttle retirement

The retirement of NASA's Space Shuttle fleet took place from March to July 2011. Discovery was the first of the three active space shuttles to be retired, completing its final mission on March 9, 2011; Endeavour did so on June 1. The final shuttle mission was completed with the landing of Atlantis on July 21, 2011, closing the 30-year Space Shuttle program.


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