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Best Images from STS-134, Endeavour’s Final Mission, Part 1

Astronaut Drew Feustel reenters the space station after completing an 8-hour, 7-minute spacewalk at on Sunday, May 22, 2011. He and fellow spacewalker Mike Fincke conducted the second of the four EVAs during the STS-134 mission. Credit: NASA

It’s bittersweet: a very successful STS-134 shuttle mission going on right now, but it’s the last one ever for space shuttle Endeavour, and the second to the last shuttle mission ever. The best way to savor the mission is to enjoy some of the wonderful images being beamed down from space.

This striking image of Endeavour shooting up through the cloud deck was taken from a shuttle training aircraft on May 16, just seconds after Endeavour launched. Credit: NASA

NASA astronaut Michael Fincke, STS-134 mission specialist, appears delighted that, because of the weightlessness of space, he can renew doing chores which he can't do on Earth, like lifting heavy bags and floating freely at the same time. Credit: NASA

Endeavour approaches the International Space Station. Visible is the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer in the payload bay. Credit: NASA

This is the last time this will be seen in space: Endeavour's wing is photographed from the ISS during the shuttle's approach. Credit: NASA

This view of the nose, the forward underside and crew cabin of Endeavour was taken by a crew member on board the ISS during a a photo survey of the approaching STS-134 crew, looking for potential problems in the thermal protection system. Credit: NASA

A careful look at this scene in Earth orbit reveals the International Space Station (ISS) at frame center, as the ISS and Endeavour (partially seen in foreground) prepare to dock. Photo credit: NASA

The ISS hovers in the aft flight deck window of space shuttle Endeavour during rendezvous and docking operations. Photo credit: NASA

Commander Mark Kelly and Greg Johnson looks at the various mission insignias placed in the Unity node of the International Space Station before placing the STS-134 insignia among them. Credit: NASA

Can you find the astronauts in this image? Drew Feustel (top left) and Greg Chamitoff (center left), work during the first EVA of the STS-134 mission. Credit: NASA

NASA astronauts Michael Fincke (left), STS-134 mission specialist; and Ron Garan, Expedition 28 flight engineer pose with their headlights, worn so they can see while working behind a rack on the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

One of the solar array wings on the ISS is backlit by a thin line of Earth's atmosphere. Credit: NASA

Astronauts Andrew Feustel (right) and Michael Fincke work during the STS-134 mission's third spacewalk. Credit: NASA

Shuttle Endeavour docked to the ISS, backdropped by a thinly lit part of Earth's atmosphere and the blackness of orbital nighttime in space. Credit: NASA

ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori floats through the Destiny laboratory of the International Space Station during the STS-134 mission. Credit: NASA

How the mission started: Endeavour's final launch on May 16, 2011. Credit: Alan Walters (awaltersphoto.com) for Universe Today.

Click on each image to get access to higher resolution images, or see more images at NASA’s Human Spaceflight webpage gallery, and NASA’s Image of the Day gallery.

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also works with Astronomy Cast, and is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Humble Sky May 26, 2011, 4:42 PM

    Beautiful. Definitely something Ill remember for the rest of my life.

  • Lawdog May 26, 2011, 4:46 PM

    O hai! I’m in ur shuttlez upgradin’ ur space stashun!

    I can haz Marz mishun?

    I don’t know why those were the first two things to pop in my head when I saw the banner pic.

  • Lawdog May 26, 2011, 4:46 PM

    O hai! I’m in ur shuttlez upgradin’ ur space stashun!

    I can haz Marz mishun?

    I don’t know why those were the first two things to pop in my head when I saw the banner pic.

  • Pete Skeggs May 26, 2011, 6:53 PM

    I think we’re missing out on a huge opportunity by not leaving a shuttle docked permanently in orbit to the ISS.

    • Nathan Bergey May 26, 2011, 10:46 PM

      That would be cool, but unfortunately the shuttle designers 40 years ago did not anticipate such a thing. There is simply no way right now to dock the shuttle permanently.

      The shuttle has it’s own set of cooling, power, fresh air, and waste needs that the station cannot handle. In fact there are only certain times of the year that the shuttle can safely be docked to the ISS (see STS-133 “beta constraint” delay discussions).

      It is a nice thought though!

    • Aqua4U May 27, 2011, 5:11 PM

      I’d like to see a last shuttle flight where… a modified external fuel tank is brought/hauled up to the station to be used for? storage? pressurized factory space? For co-orbital Hotel accommodations?

  • Aqua4U May 27, 2011, 4:34 AM

    Thanks… I needed that~

  • Mike Olden May 27, 2011, 6:14 AM

    You need to be a very special person to be an astronaut,bravery, courage, of calm disposition,and much more,,, Looking at all the flights,I take my hat off to these people.I watched a launch from a Coca beach vantage point this year in March,,all I could say was ,,,Once the bolts blow it dosent hang about ,,,,,, awesome

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