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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid