Another bittersweet day for the American space program: After having a delicious breakfast astronauts launched aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, her last flight ever and the penultimate flight for the shuttle program. Watch the video here.
The mission name is STS-134 and, so far, everything seems perfect and in place. NASA TV commenters were just talking about how smooth everything went this time which, given the problems in recent months, is surprising. Great work NASA, for turning this around.
9:11AM They cut down the auxiliary power systems, as expected. Shuttle is now in orbit and humming her way to the International Space Station, where they will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer—which will study anti-matter—and the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 3, among other things.
9:06AM Mark is now turning the shuttle around to photograph the tank. This is an important step, because they want to see if any foam fell on launch, hitting the tiles. Foam was responsible of damaging Columbia's thermal tiles, which eventually caused her fatal accident.
9:05AM Main engines are now off. Separation of the main engine tank.
9:03AM Endeavour has reached the point in which she can now reach orbit with only one engine. All engines are working perfectly well.
9:00AM All systems are working perfectly. Endeavour has reached her point of no return. This means that they can't return to Kennedy in case of any problem.
8:54AM Lift off! Look at her go. Godspeed, Endeavour. You look so beautiful this morning.
8:56AM Shuttle computers have the con.
8:55AM All is ready to go. 51 seconds! I'm giggling like a little girl right now.
8:53AM They are checking main engines steering. I always love this part. It's like she is alive and waking up.
8:51AM T-5 minutes.
8:50AM T-6 minutes. They are putting liquid oxygen in the tank.
8:45AM Countdown has started. Computers now have the control, going through a gazillion check parameters.
8:45AM Mark E. Kelly, STS-134 commander and husband of congressman Giffords, just give some emotive words on why this is a symbol of amazing teamwork and America's spirit. I agree. It's just to bad there's no much of that outside NASA and a couple other places.
8:42AM All systems are ready to go. All the teams have reported everything is go. Flight director verified no constrains for launch. It's gonna happen, people.