Xeni at space shuttle Endeavour launch for SpaceFlightNow webcast


Photo: Bathed in xenon lights, space shuttle Endeavour moves along the crawlerway from the Vehicle Assembly Building to Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Riding atop a crawler-transporter attached to its external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters, Endeavour's last scheduled 3.4-mile trek to the pad, known as "rollout," took just less than eight hours. (NASA/Terry Zaperac)

As I type this post, I'm in-flight to Orlando for the launch of Shuttle Endeavour's final planned mission, STS-134 (Wikipedia).

The STS-134 crew members are Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Gregory H. Johnson and Mission Specialists Michael Fincke, Greg Chamitoff, Andrew Feustel and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori.

During the 14-day mission, Endeavour 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. This will be the 36th shuttle mission to the International Space Station.

I'll be hanging at Kennedy Space Center with the team from SpaceFlightNow, who cover these things with the best live video coverage there is. As always, Miles O'Brien will be hosting the SpaceFlightNow webcast, along with David Waters and Leroy Chiao. The web video fun starts Friday, April 29 at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), and the shuttle is scheduled for blastoff that same day at 3:47 p.m. EDT (1947 GMT) on a two-week flight to the International Space Station.

Expected attendees of note include President Barack Obama and the first family, as well as congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, whose husband is the commander of this mission.

Looking forward to meeting fellow happy mutants and space fans in the greater Boing Boing family at the launch. Please do come say hello! I'll come hang out at the NASA Tweet-Up at some point, too.

If the launch is delayed, perhaps we'll sing Star Trek folk songs, or do shuttle trivia quizzes for gadget prizes or something. Open to suggestions in the comments!

Watch live streaming video from spaceflightnow at livestream.com


  1. Xeni, NASA throws a nice tweet-up by having lots of personnel come give updates and talks. Especially like the close-out crew who straps in the astronauts and closes the door. Make sure to say hi to Beth Beck for me. She is the worlds biggest advocate for Social Media at NASA. She got the agency primed using it to communicate to the greater community.

    I went to STS-132 but would love to be at this one, going to be quite the circus! A big tip is that you can stand behind the Countdown Clock for a great view of the launch. The networks don’t really like you in front. “Ruins” the shot so they say.

  2. Seems to be a star-studded launch, with Levar Burton and Seth Green also attending the NASAtweetup (which makes me think that maybe their tweetup application was given a slight preference over mine!) I’ve tried multiple times to catch a launch in-person, and come hell or high water will try again for STS-135 in June, NASAtweetup or not!

  3. Unfortunately, I’m stuck at work, but I’ll be in Downtown Orlando and I’m closing my store during the 10-minute launch window.

    Xeni, you should come by my shop: The U-Spy Store, where we pin Boing Boing articles to the wall and try to break the world of paranoia. (Usually we only make it worse).

  4. Dang, I guess I can add “shuttle launch” to the list of cool things I’ll never see. But I did get to sit with the press during the maiden launch of SpaceShipOne, so I guess that counts for something.

  5. My parent’s winter home is in a trailer park on the Indian River. When there are launches the residents walk to the shabby little waterfront dock to watch.

    I was hoping they’d give me a launch report, but it turns out they deliberatly left for New York a few days early so they wouldn’t have to deal with “shuttle traffic.”

  6. Would anyone have a link to a high res version of this shuttle-on-the-crawler-at-night picture?

    1. That reminds me…

      NASA, since you’re not going to be using that crawler anymore would it be cool if we convert it into a giant Jawa Sandcrawler? We recently got some bad news about our prospects for an Imperial AT-AT.

  7. I got passed over for the tweetup, but I managed to score 2 tickets for me an my 11yr old daughter to watch from the Visitor’s Center. I think the tweetup/VIP/Press folks get to watch from the VAB or better yet, the Saturn center – either case, much better than my seats….. =-(….

    Jeni, wave to us in the cheap seats tomorrow!!! =-_)

    In all seriousness. Lets hope these evening storms have taken care of the wild fires and tomorrow’s launch goes by the numbers: God Speed Endeavor!!!

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