Commander Mark Kelly and STS-134 Crew Arrive at Kennedy for Endeavour’s Final Flight

by Ken Kremer on April 26, 2011

The STS-134 astronauts crew arrives at the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center to begin final launch preps for Endeavour's STS-134 mission. From left are Mission Specialists Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel, Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Greg H. Johnson, Mission Specialist Mike Fincke and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori. Credit : Alan Walters, awaltersphoto.com

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – The six man crew for Shuttle Endeavour’s final flight to space arrived today (April 26) at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The crew flew in to the Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF) on a quartet of T-38 jets from their training base in Houston.

Shuttle Commander Mark Kelly introduced his crew to a large crowd of gathered reporters, photographers and NASA officials including Launch Director Mike Leinbach, KSC Director Bob Cabana and Kelly’s twin brother Scott who recently returned from a six month stint aboard the International Space Station.

Shuttle Commander Mark Kelly addresses the media at the shuttle landing strip after crew arrival on April 26. From left: Mission Specialists Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel, Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Greg H. Johnson. T-38 jet in the background. Credit: Ken Kremer

Speaking on behalf of the entire crew he said, “We’re really happy to be here today,” said Kelly. “We got a chance to take look at the orbiter as we first flew over the field and then the over pad. It’s great to see Endeavour all ready to go again.”

Kelly was exuberant in saying that his wife, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was well enough to attend the STS-134 launch set for Friday, at 3:47 p.m. EDT.

The shuttle launch countdown officially commenced at 2 PM today. The weather outlook is 80% GO, with a 20% chance of weather violations prohibiting launch according to Shuttle weather officer Kathy Winters.

STS-134 crew arrives at KSC aboard T-38 jets. Credit : Alan Walters, awaltersphoto.com

STS-134 is the 25th and final launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour.

The primary payload aboard Endeavour is the $2 Billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) ) which the crew will attach to the International Space Station. The AMS will collect cosmic rays, search for dark energy, dark matter and anti matter and seeks to determine the origin of the Universe.

Photos from the Universe Today team of Alan Walters, Ken Kremer and Michael Deep. Check back later for more photos

STS 134 crew pose for photographers at Shuttle Landing Facility on April 26. Launch is set for April 29. Mission Specialists Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel, Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Greg H. Johnson, Mission Specialist Mike Fincke and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori. Credit: Ken Kremer

STS-134 commander Mark Kelly strides across the runway of the Shuttle Landing Facility. Credit: Michael Deep, for Universe Today.

Astronauts Mark Kelly and Mike Fincke land in their T-38 at Kennedy Space Center. Credit: Michael Deep, for Universe Today.

About 

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, scientist, freelance science journalist (Princeton, NJ) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calanders including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral and NASA Wallops on over 40 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

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