Space Shuttle Endeavour

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Space Shuttle Endeavour (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-105) is one of three currently operational orbiters in the Space Shuttle fleet of NASA, the space agency of the United States.[1] (The other two are Discovery and 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 is scheduled for decommissioning in 2010.[2] Before its decommissioning, NASA expects to use Endeavour for the STS-134 mission, which will make it the last shuttle to fly a mission for the Space Shuttle Program.[3] However, should the proposed STS-135 mission be approved, Atlantis will be the final shuttle to fly.

Contents

History

The United States Congress authorized the construction of Endeavour in 1987 to replace Challenger, which was lost in an 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.

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