I am extremely excited to witness what could possibly be the last shuttle launch. In two days time Endeavour (sts-134) will be lifting off for it’s last mission. During Endeavour’s 14 day mission it will make one final trip to the International Space Station to deliver the Express Logistics Carrier-3, Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS), a high-pressure gas tank and additional spare parts for the Dextre robotic helper. This is truly a momentous occasion, as the endeavor will retire after a 19 year career, first launching May 1992. Endeavour was the last of the space shuttle fleet to be built (ship number 5) and was built to replace the Challenger shuttle.
I am not the only one who is waiting in anticipation for this once in a lifetime event. Over half a million people have flocked from all over the world to be witness as the final launch of the Endeavor. Today was my first day in the Space Coast region of Florida and I met both a family from Great Britain and a couple from Australia. The British family had brought their three-year-old son, whilst the Australian couple flew 18 hours to get here. These people represent only a small portion of the, for lack of better words, great migration to Florida.
My day tomorrow will include a Space Camp alumni tweetup as well as a tour of Kennedy space center. At the alumni breakfast/tweet up I will get to meet up with other Space Camp graduates. This is similar to but on a smaller scale than the tweetup that my mother will be attending. The NASA tweetup (which I was not allowed into due to age restrictions) will be made up of 150 twitter geeks. I am so jealous that they will be receiving a behind the scenes tour of the launch site as well as viewing seats next to the count down clock.
The shuttle launch is not only a matter of American pride and interest, but also an international event. I look forward to hearing the many different languages at Kennedy Space Center tomorrow and Friday. As well meeting people from all over the world who have come to bear witness to this historic event.
More to come!
THE NUMBERS (Prior to STS-134) These are from NASA.com website
Total miles traveled: 116,372,930
Total time in space: 283 Total orbits: 4,423 Total flights: 24
Total crew members: 167 Mir dockings: 1
International Space Station visits: 11