Today’s final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour is a testament to American ingenuity and leadership in human spaceflight. As we look toward a bright future with the International Space Station as our anchor and new destinations in deep space on the horizon, we salute the astronauts and ground crews who have ensured the orbiter’s successful missions. The presence of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at the launch inspired us all, just as America’s space program has done for the past 50 years.
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NASA officials view space shuttle Endeavour (STS-134) as it launches skyward through the windows of Firing Room 4, Monday, May 16, 2011, at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. During the 16-day mission, Endeavour, with Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Gregory H. Johnson, Mission Specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Robert Vittori will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and spare parts including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank and additional spare parts for Dextre. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)