Space Shuttle Endeavour Given to LA Museum


When the Space Shuttle Endeavour was retired in May, nobody knew where it would end up. Would NASA sell it to SpaceX to help with commercial space flight? Would they keep it around but in mothballs in case they needed it for something? As it turns out, NASA must need a multi-billion-dollar tax write-off, because the various Space Shuttle pieces are being donated to charities. For example, Endeavour is being donated to the California Science Center, where its new mission will soon begin.

“NASA is pleased to share this wonderful orbiter with the California Science Center to help inspire a new generation of explorers,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. ”The next chapter in space exploration begins now, and we’re standing on the shoulders of the men and women of the shuttle program to reach farther into the solar system.”

Joining the CSC as the final resting place of the various space shuttles are NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Udvar-Hazy Center, and the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum. Endeavour has traveled 115 million miles over 25 missions and has carried 139 people into space. Now, it makes one last trip to Exposition Park through the streets of Los Angeles before it finds a new mission: teaching kids about science

The Final Launch

Today marks an important day in history as thirty years and 135 missions after its debut, NASA launched a space shuttle for the final time. It was a bitter sweet moment as Atlantis streaked into orbit from Kennedy Space Center.

Atlantis and its four-person crew are embarking on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.

The liftoff at 11:26 a.m. thrilled a crowd of an estimated 1 million people who packed viewing sites along the Florida coast for one last look at a spaceship that captured the imagination and attention of fans around the world.

The mission is the 33rd for Atlantis which first flew on Oct. 3, 1985.

Atlantis is hauling nearly 10,000 pounds of supplies — about a third of it food — and equipment that should keep the International Space Station stocked through next year.

On July 20, at Kennedy  Space Center, the shuttle program will officially end with the call of wheel stop.

After retirement, Atlantis is destined for its new home at the KSC Visitor Complex.

Click here for pictures of Atlantis over the years:



Space Shuttle Discovery To Fly For The Last Time

A 30-year mission is coming to an end for NASA.  Today, Space Shuttle Discovery is making its final launch from NASA Launch Pad 39A from Cape Canaveral, Florida.  The Space Shuttle flights are coming to an end, with Discovery making its 39th launch from the surface of the Earth.

Discovery is set to launch at 4:50 p.m., with a crew of six commanded by Steve Lindsey,  a retired Air Force colonel. Its 11-day mission – ferrying supplies and a humanoid robot to the International Space Station — will be its 39th since 1984, and its last.


Tens of thousands of people are expected to watch the launch from vantage points all along the Space Coast. Among those in the VIP area will be Florida Governor Rick Scott, watching the first launch since he took office in January, as well as U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden.

In addition to Lindsey, 50, a fighter pilot who flew dozens of missions in Iraq, the crew includes pilot Eric Boe, 45, an Air Force colonel and fellow fighter-pilot veteran, from Atlanta; and mission specialists Alvin Drew, 47; Steve Bowen, 47; Michael Barratt, 51, a medical doctor; Nicole Stott, who lived on the Space Coast for many years while working as a mission engineer at Kennedy Space Center.

The mission marks the beginning of the end of the 30-year space shuttle program. Discovery, arguably the most-storied and versatile spaceship in the fleet, should be followed by Endeavour in April, and, if all goes well, Atlantis as early as June. Then, for the first time in nearly 60 years, the United States will have no government-owned rocket ready to launch.

Delayed for various reasons since November, Discovery’s last launch will feature an interesting bit of cargo.  That would be the robotic astronaut Robonaut 2, who will be heading to the International Space Station as part of Discovery’s last mission.  It’s kind of interesting how the end of an era overlaps with the beginning of a brand new era, isn’t it?  Just think, in ten years, there’ll be unmanned space shuttles flying everywhere.

Good luck, NASA.  Here’s to a successful last mission for the old warhorse!