News / USA

Huge Crowds Expected for Shuttle Endeavour's Final Launch

Space Shuttle Endeavour sits on Launch Pad 39-A during fueling at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 29, 2011
Space Shuttle Endeavour sits on Launch Pad 39-A during fueling at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, April 29, 2011

Large crowds are expected Friday for the second-to-last launch of the United States' space shuttle program.  

Officials are anticipating as many as 750,000 spectators near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the afternoon launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour. The crowd will include U.S. President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and their two daughters.  

The mission will be the 25th and final one for Endeavour, which will be decommissioned and put on permanent display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles upon its return to Earth.

During its two weeks in space, Endeavour and its six-man crew will deliver a $2 billion scientific instrument to the International Space Station (ISS).  The instrument is designed to search for cosmic rays throughout the universe.  

The mission has also attracted attention because of the shuttle's commander.  Mark Kelly's wife is U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from a near-fatal shooting in January during a political meeting in her Arizona congressional district.  Giffords is expected to watch her husband's launch in a secluded area at the Kennedy Space Center.

Watch NASA TV's Coverage Live Right Here

The crew also includes Italy's Roberto Vitorri, who is flying as a member of the European Space Agency.  

Endeavour is expected to return to Earth on May 13.  NASA's 30-year space shuttle program will end in June after Atlantis' final mission to the ISS.

NASA has started working with four private companies on vehicles to replace the space shuttles.  Those vehicles could be ready in 2013, depending on the availability of government funding.

In attending Endeavor's launch Friday, President Obama will become just the second president to attend a shuttle launch.  President Bill Clinton was on hand for the 1998 launch of space shuttle Discovery, which carried pioneering astronaut John Glenn back into space 36 years after he became the first American to orbit the Earth.  

Endeavour is the sixth vehicle in the U.S. space shuttle fleet, built to replace its sister shuttle Challenger, which exploded shortly after liftoff in January 1986, killing all seven crew members.  It was named after the historic British naval vessel that explored the South Pacific in the 18th century.  Endeavour's first flight was on May 7, 1992.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid