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After a two week delay Shuttle Endeavour launched on its final mission this morning from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Shuttle crew for STS-124 has gone into orbit with a Star Trek-themed mission poster and a crewmember who has appeared in Star Trek. Watch the launch and check out the poster below.
God Speed Endeavour
After a delay of a couple of weeks, Shuttle Endeavour launched successfully on its 25th and final mission at 8:56 EDT. The crew members for space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-134 mission are Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori. During the 16-day mission, Endeavour and its crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank and additional spare parts for Dextre. Here are two videos from NASA showing the launch and the Shuttle in orbit.
Star Trek and Endeavour
Endeavour’s final mission has a few Star Trek connections. The crew of STS-134 includes a real Star Trek veteran. Colonel Edward Michael Fincke, a mission specialist for STS-134, appeared as Lt. M. Fincke in the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise ("These Are the Voyages"). Finke was also part of the "Greetings from the International Space Station" special feature for the 2009 Star Trek: First Contact re-release on Blu-ray and DVD.
STS-134 Mission Specialist Michael Fincke on Star Trek: Enterprise and in First Contact DVD special feature
And last March TrekMovie reported on the special poster for STS-134 which had a Star Trek theme.
Mission Poster for STS 134 (download at nasa.gov )
Star Trek 2009 banner which inspired NASA
Finally, Star Trek: The Next Generation’s LeVar Burton was one of the invited guests for the original planned launch on April 29th. While he didn’t get a chance to see the shuttle go up, Burton participated in a NASA Livetweet event at KSC.
After Endeavour returns home it will begin a new mission to educate and inspire as an installation at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
NASA video celebrating Endeavour
The Shuttle program comes to an end this summer with the final flight of Shuttle Atlantis.