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Endeavour in Space

May 23rd, 2011

photo credit: NASA/George Roberts and Mike Kerley

May 22, 2011 — Here, There, Everywhere … and wwwwaaaay out there! The space shuttle Endeavour is in the middle of its 16-day mission to the International Space Station . This is Endeavour’s 25th mission, but also its final one.

It’s also the second-to-last shuttle mission ever. Atlantis, on its final mission, is set to launch July 8th. After that, the four remaining space shuttles — Discovery, Atlantis, Endeavour and Enterprise — will be retired and go on display. Endeavour will be going to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

Watch Endeavour’s lift-off:

You can watch an interview the astronauts gave by clicking here . At the end of the interview they attempted zero-gravity somersaults:


There are 6 astronauts on board Endeavour right now. Commander Mark Kelly is the shuttle commander which means he’s in charge of making sure the mission is safe and successful. And also that their jobs get done. They’re delivering an alphamagnetic spectrometer (AMS) to the International Space Station , which they’ve docked with and installed now. The AMS is supposed to collect cosmic rays to try to help scientists answer one of the world’s great mysteries: what is the Universe made of?

They’re also doing spacewalks. And, among other experiments, they’re testing out 3 cracker-sized satellites ! Right now satellites are big and expensive to take into space. This could be a breakthrough technology. Instead of space ships, these are space “chips”!  And, one day, there could be millions orbiting above us!

Did you know?

In total, Endeavour has traveled over 116 million miles! And it has orbited Earth over 4,000 times.

photo credit: Stefanie Gordon/AP

Commander Kelly has a twin brother, who is also an astronaut, and who was recently at the International Space Station. If it wasn’t for a few delays, they would have been the first twins in orbit together!

A woman in a passenger plane got a view of Endeavour as it headed for space … and this amazing photo with the camera in her phone!

Space shuttles don’t have engines like regular planes. So when they re-enter to Earth, they have to glide all the way down to land.

photo credit: Ron Garan

Astronaut Ron Garan has a blog. And blogged from space! He writes about his experience on board Endeavour, but also shares incredible photos of Earth at night, as well as the swollen Mississippi River.

Endeavour is 20-years old and is the only shuttle to be named by kids, in a national contest.


Onward and Upward

So, how are we going to keep exploring space when the space shuttle program has ended? A new program is under way, called the Constellation program , and it will take us even deeper into space, back to the moon and ultimately to Mars!

Want to be a part of it and learn more? NASA has a great website.

Send your face … into space! Click here to find out how!

Want to know how much you weigh in space?  You can click here for lots of games and activities on NASA’s website for kids.

You can click here, too, to learn and play on NASA’s site for kids.

You can click here to watch videos of Endeavour’s mission so far.

The astronauts on Endeavour are scheduled to be back on June 1st.

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