Space Shuttle Endeavour – the Phoenix

After 25 missions to outer space and 4,671 orbits around planet Earth, Space Shuttle Endeavour has completed its final voyage, dubbed mission number 26.

Mission 26 entailed Endeavour’s move from its previous home in Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) 2 at Kennedy Space Center (KSC), headquartered in Merritt Island, Florida, to its final resting place at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, California. The retired NASA orbiter enjoys an interesting history, and one that spans 25 years.

Endeavour, the fifth and final NASA space shuttle constructed, was built to replace Space Shuttle Challenger following its tragic destruction 73 seconds after launch on January 28, 1986. (Mission STS-51-L, which ended with a launch accident, marked the tenth mission of Challenger, the second Space Shuttle orbiter built and the predecessor of the flagship Columbia orbiter.)

Formally designated as Orbiter Vehicle 105 (OV-105), the Endeavour was contracted to and built by Rockwell International, a major American manufacturing conglomerate serving various markets, including aviation, space, defense and commercial electronics, printing, and more. (Rockwell International was dissolved in 2001; the only remaining parts of a once giant conglomerate are Rockwell Automation and Rockwell Collins, a name well known in the military/aerospace (mil/aero) community.)

Space shuttle Endeavour on the launch pad.

Endeavor was constructed not from scratch, but with the use of structural spares from its predecessors. Structural spares left over from the construction of Space Shuttles Discovery and Atlantis went into Endeavor’s assembly. It wasn’t all leftovers, however; the orbiter benefitted from new hardware, including upgraded avionics, intended to deliver enhanced capabilities.

There’s still so much more that’s interesting about Endeavor, and this geek will explore them in the next installment.

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Posted October 29th, 2012, by

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About J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

J. VanDomelen holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and myriad certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTia in varying facets of computer software, hardware, and network design and implementation. He has worked in the electronics industry for more than 12 years in varied fields, including advanced systems design of highly technical military and aerospace computer systems, semiconductor manufacturing, open source software development, hardware design, and rapid prototyping. J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

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Commented on October 30, 2012 at 8:40 pm
By Endeavour « J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

[...] U.S. Congress authorized and funded construction of Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1987, following the tragic loss in 1986 of Challenger. Endeavor’s price tag was a cool $2.2 [...]

Commented on November 26, 2012 at 11:22 am
By NASAs’ Space Shuttles Final Endeavor « J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

[...] high desert community, many who worked on the shuttle program since the beginning, came out to give Endeavour a final sendoff,” says Al Hoffman, site manager at Boeing Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) Operations [...]

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