NASA occasionally has to break with tradition and think differently. For a while, the Space Shuttle has launched was delayed, until NASA broke with that paradigm and the Space Shuttle took to the sky. The Endeavour has been postponed for a while due to a series of irregularities and defects that could have put the mission in jeopardy, however it has finally cleared the launch pad. It is the final journey of the Endeavour.
Endeavor's last chance
CNN states the Space Shuttle Endeavor went up at 9 a.m. Eastern standard time. Reuters reports that April 29 was when the launch was originally prepared for, however it was cancelled because of an issue with the heating unit. Earlier this week, the launch was given an okay. STS-134 is the name of the mission. Endeavor will go to the International Space Station. Its mission is to deliver the 60-nation, $2 billion instrument called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer. Particles will be found and analyzed with the machine. Other telescopes aren't able to detect these particles.
Nobody knew how to feel about Mission Control. After the 16-day mission where the ISS will also get some parts, the Endeavor will be retired. The Christian Science Monitor states that there will be only one more launch in June in the shuttle program before it ends. This can be when the Shuttle Atlantis has its last launch. The George W. Bush administration decided to end the shuttle program. This was after the shuttle Columbia exploded while coming back to Earth. In all of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration programs, 17 astronauts were killed. Fourteen of those were killed in the shuttle program alone.
Future of NASA
CBS reports that when Mark Kelly took off as mission commander, his wife, Congresswoman Giffords, was there to look at. After almost dying from a gunshot to the head several months ago, Giffords has recovered quite well. Any time an astronaut needs to get to the ISS after Atlantis comes back could have to get a ride on the Soyuz spacecraft. Astronauts can "rent" a spot to the ISS soon supposedly if private contractors really get it worked out. National Aeronautics and Space Administration had been working on a replacement for the shuttle dubbed the Constellation program, which was nearly identical to the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs using a capsule set atop a very large rocket. Now private firms are working on it. This got the program scrapped. The programs will not be put into place quite yet. It will take years for them to get started.
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