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.