Endeavour’s Retirement Flight: Happy Retirement Endeavour

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Space Shuttle Endeavour (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-105) is one of two currently operational orbiters in the Space Shuttle fleet of NASA, the space agency of the United States.[1] (The other is Atlantis.) Endeavour is the fifth and final spaceworthy NASA space shuttle to be built, constructed as a replacement for Challenger. Endeavour first flew in May 1992 on mission STS-49 and was scheduled for decommissioning in 2010.[2] Before its decommissioning, NASA expects to use Endeavour for the STS-134 mission. Its STS-134 mission was originally thought as the final mission of the Space Shuttle program, [3] however, the proposed STS-135 mission was approved, and now Atlantis will be the final Space Shuttle to fly.

The United States Congress authorized the construction of Endeavour in 1987 to replace Challenger, which was lost in the STS-51-L launch accident in 1986. Structural spares from the construction of Discovery and Atlantis, two of the three remaining operating shuttles at the time, were used in its assembly. The decision to build Endeavour was favored over refitting Enterprise on cost grounds.

The orbiter is named after the British HMS Endeavour, the ship which took Captain James Cook on his first voyage of discovery (1768–1771).[4] This is why the name is spelled in the British English manner, rather than the American English (“Endeavor”). This has caused confusion, most notably when NASA themselves misspelled a sign on the launch pad in 2007.[5] The name also honored Endeavour, the Command Module of Apollo 15.

Endeavour was named through a national competition involving students in elementary and secondary schools. 
(Read more about Endeavour: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Endeavour)

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