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About Endeavour Space Shuttle Endeavour (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-105) was the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger. Endeavour first flew in May 1992 on mission STS-49 and its last mission STS-134 was in May 2011. The STS-134 mission was originally planned as the final mission of the Space Shuttle program, but with authorization of the STS-135 mission, Atlantis became the last Space Shuttle to fly. The United States Congress authorized the construction of Endeavour in 1987 to replace Challenger, which was lost in the STS-51-L launch accident in 1986. Structural spares built during the construction of Discovery and Atlantis, two of the previous shuttles, were used in its assembly. NASA chose to build Endeavour from spares rather than refitting Enterprise or accepting a Rockwell International proposal to build two shuttles for the price of one of the original shuttles, on cost grounds. The orbiter is named after the British HMS Endeavour, the ship which took Captain James Cook on his first voyage of discovery (1768–1771). This is why the name is spelled in the British English manner, rather than the American English ("Endeavor"). This has caused confusion, most notably when NASA themselves misspelled a sign on the launch pad in 2007. The name also honored Endeavour, the Command Module of Apollo 15, itself also named after Cook's ship. Upgrades and features As it was constructed later, 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: A 40-foot (12 m) diameter drag chute that reduced the orbiter's rollout distance by 1,000 to 2,000 feet (300 to 610 m). The plumbing and electrical connections needed for Extended Duration Orbiter (EDO) modifications to allow up to a 28-day mission (although a 28-day mission was never attempted; the record is 17 days, which was set by Columbia). Updated avionics systems that included advanced general purpose computers, improved inertial measurement units and tactical air navigation systems, enhanced master events controllers and multiplexer-demultiplexers, a solid-state star tracker and improved nose wheel steering mechanisms. An improved version of the Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) that provided power to operate the Shuttle's hydraulic systems. Modifications resulting from a 2005–2006 refit of Endeavour include: The Station-to-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS), which converted 8 kilowatts of DC power from the ISS main voltage of 120VDC to the orbiter bus voltage of 28VDC. This upgrade allowed Endeavour to remain on-orbit while docked at ISS for an additional 3- to 4-day duration. The corresponding power equipment was added to the ISS during the STS-116 station assembly mission, and Endeavour flew with SSPTS capability during STS-118. Construction Milestones 07/31/87 Contract Award 02/15/82 Start structural assembly of Crew Module (yes 1982) 09/28/87 Start structural assembly of aft-fuselage 12/22/87 Wings arrive at Palmdale from Grumman 08/01/87 Start of Final Assembly 07/06/90 Completed Final Assembly 04/25/91 Rollout from Palmdale 05/07/91 Delivery to Kennedy Space Center 04/06/92 Flight Readiness Firing 05/07/92 First Flight (STS-49) Decommissioning 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. Endeavour was originally scheduled to be decommissioned in 2010 after 18 years of service, but on 1 July 2010, NASA released a statement saying the Endeavour mission was rescheduled for 27 February 2011, instead of late November, 2010. "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 are subject to change. The launch was once again postponed until 29 April 2011, in order to avoid a scheduling conflict with a Russian supply vehicle heading for the International Space Station. The launch was finally carried out on 16 May 2011. Shuttle Endeavour's last mission, STS-134, was a successful launch at 08:56 EST. Endeavour completed its final mission with a landing at the Kennedy Space Center at 06:34 UTC on 1 June 2011. Over its flight career, Endeavour flew 122,853,151 miles and spent 299 days in space. While flying 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. This was the second time a Shuttle had been photographed while 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 long enough to sign autographs and pose for pictures. With commander Mark Kelly and pilot Gregory Johnson at the controls, Endeavour's touchdown was the 25th time a shuttle performed a night landing. One final mission, STS-135, was added to the schedule in January 2011, and Atlantis flew for the last time in July 2011. NASA offered the three remaining orbiters for museum donation once they are withdrawn from service. After more than twenty organizations submitted proposals to NASA for the display of an orbiter, NASA announced that Enterprise will go to New York's Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, Discovery will go the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum, Atlantis will remain in the Visitor Complex at Kennedy Space Center, and Endeavour will go to the California Science Center in Los Angeles, with delivery currently scheduled for September or October 2012. Endeavour's Canadarm will be removed and sent to a yet-to-be-determined museum in Canada, while the other two Canadarms will remain with the shuttles. Endeavour's Flights 01. STS-49 (05/07/92) 02. STS-47 (09/12/92) 03. STS-54 (01/13/93) 04. STS-57 (6/21/93) 05. STS-61 (12/02/93) 06. STS-59 (04/09/94) 07. STS-68 (9/30/94) 08. STS-67 (3/02/95) 09. STS-69 (9/07/95) 10. STS-72 (1/11/96) 11. STS-77 (5/19/96) OMDP to Palmdale The orbiter Endeavour underwent an 8-month Orbiter Maintenance Down Period (OMDP) in Palmdale, CA. The most significant modification was the installation of an external air lock making Endeavour capable of docking with the International Space Station. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/30/1996). 12. STS-89 (1/22/98) 13. STS-88 (12/4/1998) 14. STS-99 (2/11/2000) 15. STS-97 (11/30/2000) 16. STS-100 (4/19/2001) 17. STS-108 (12/05/2001) 18. STS-111 (6/05/2002) 19. STS-113 (11/23/2002) OMDP at KSC The orbiter Endeavour underwent a 24-month Orbiter Maintenance Down Period (OMDP) at the Kennedy Space Center. Engineers and technicians spent 900,000 hours performing 124 modifications. These included recommended return to flight safety modifications, bonding more than 1,000 thermal protection system tiles and inspecting more than 150 miles of wiring. Eighty five of the modifications are complete and 39 are still underway. Two of the more extensive modifications included the addition of the multi-functional electronic display system (glass cockpit), and the three-string global positioning system. (Reference NASA Release 05-336). 20. STS-118 (8/8/2007) 21. STS-123 (3/11/2008) 22. STS-126 (11/14/2008) 23. STS-127 (7/15/2009) 24. STS-130 (2/08/2010) 25. STS-134 (5/16/2011) Endeavour's Final Flight Log 25 flights 299 Days in Space 4,671 orbits 122.883 Million Miles