6/1/2011 – SAN ANTONIO (AFNS) — The space shuttle Endeavor touched down at the Kennedy Space Center June 1 at 2:35 a.m. EDT, ending the shuttle’s 19-year flying career.
The Endeavour crew completed four spacewalks and several maintenance upgrades on the International Space Station as part of the shuttle’s final mission.
Endeavour’s crew also delivered and installed the $2 billion Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer particle detector, which is designed to study dark matter, antimatter and other high-energy phenomena that cannot be detected from Earth. The AMS was successfully installed and is being calibrated for upcoming experiments.
Among the crew were two Air Force astronauts, mission pilot Col. Gregory Johnson and mission specialist Col. Mike Fincke, who were thrilled to be part of the shuttle’s final mission.
“Endeavor was always my favorite shuttle,” Colonel Johnson said. “My first shuttle mission was on it and that was great, but now getting to be on its last mission is just a dream come true.”
Colonel Fincke’s sentiments are similar.
“Being able to fly in the shuttle is amazing,” he said. “But I could never imagine being able to fly on such a historic mission.”
Colonel Fincke made history of his own on the mission, becoming the new record-holder for longest time in space with 381 days.
Endeavor’s landing coincides with the rollout of the shuttle Atlantis, which is scheduled to launch the final space shuttle mission July 8.