o The Frog Blog: Endeavour Lands After Final Mission

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Endeavour Lands After Final Mission


NASA's Space Shuttle Endeavour has safely landed at the Kennedy Space Center after a successful final mission to the International Space Station. The six strong crew of astronauts ended their 16-day journey, where they travelled more than 6.5 million miles, with a night time landing just after 2:30am today. Endeavour, the youngest member of the Shuttle fleet, has flown in 25 missions, spent 299 days in space, orbited Earth 4,671 times and traveled 122,883,151 miles - all during its 19 year career.

During their mission, the team of astronauts from NASA and the ESA delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) to the ISS, an instrument 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, 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.

The 135th and final shuttle mission, STS-135, will see Space Shuttle Atlantis fly to the International Space Station for further maintenance and upgrading. This flight is scheduled for 5 weeks time on July 8th. Atlantis is currently on its move from Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A.

Suggested Student Activity: Why not cut out and build a Space Shuttle glider and find out more about how the Space Shuttle works. What fuel does it use? How fast does it travel? How big is it? Here's a good place to start.