Today at Kennedy Space Center, two of the glorious veterans of the Space Shuttle program are going to fire up their onboard liquid-fuel rocket engines one final time and accelerate to hypersonic speeds before crashing nose-to-nose in a majestic finale.
When Endeavour took off for the International Space Station on Monday, it took with it the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), the largest space instrument ever launched into orbit that will study high-energy cosmic rays incoming from faraway parts of the universe. But Endeavour also left something behind on Monday: an extremely strong super-cooled magnet that was bumped from the AMS experiment last year.
We’ve already bid our fond farewell to the space shuttle Endeavour, but as it blasted into the great blue yonder for the last time Monday, the astronauts were accompanied by a different sort of companion: the first cephalopod ever to enter space.
With NASA’s space shuttle program in full wind-down, it seems like there are a lot of “lasts” in America’s storied, three-decade Space Transportation System. Space shuttle Discovery successfully touched down at Kennedy Space Center in Florida just before noon today, marking the end of STS-133 and Discovery’s final mission, the 39th and last flight for the busiest spacecraft in NASA’s shuttle fleet.
It's a sight captured by many a late-night stargazer: a shuttle streaking through the dark sky on its way to orbit. Last night, a gorgeous predawn launch of the space shuttle Endeavour marked the last scheduled night launch ever for the retiring NASA vehicle, even as NASA looks forward to a new age of commercial spaceflight. All four of the remaining shuttle flights are slated for the daytime, SPACE.com reports.
Space Shuttle Endeavour Launch: NASA/Jeffrey Marino
NASA's Endeavour shuttle launched yesterday evening, after a near-record five delays, on a mission to aid in International Space Station construction for 16 days. However, the craft lost about a dozen pieces of fuel-tank debris during lift off, possibly causing damage to the shuttle.
It's hard to launch a Space Shuttle when the launch pad keeps getting struck by lighting. NASA cameras caught 11 lightning strikes, including one direct hit to the pad, near the space shuttle Endeavour's launch pad, during a thunderstorm on July 10.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.