Today should have been the launch of the last shuttle mission ever but NASA knew that sidepodcast would miss it too much so we have one last bonus mission after this.
Today however is the last mission for the shuttle Endeavour. Rather than waffle on at length I will just give few relevant facts.
- Commander Mark Kelly radio call sign CDR
- Pilot Greg H. Johnson radio call sign PLT
- Mission Specialist 1 Mike Fincke MS1
- Mission Specialist 2 Roberto Vittori MS2
- Mission Specialist 3 Drew Feustel MS3
- Mission Specialist 4 Greg Chamitoff MS4
Endeavour was built as a replacement for the Challenger shuttle.
Pilot Greg Johnson was born in the UK but grew up in America
Roberto Vittori is a European Space Agency Astronaut.
When the mission was originally scheduled Mark Kelly's identical twin brother was in command of the ISS. Due to all the delays experienced with the previous shuttle mission Scott Kelly has already completed his mission.
Commander Mark Kelly is married to congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head earlier this year in an assassination attempt. For a while it looked like he would be replaced by Rick "CJ" Stuckrow but the delays in the previous mission meant she has recovered enough for him to fly and for her to attend the launch.
Also attending the launch today is President Barack Obama. He is the first president to attend a launch since Bill Clinton.
Launch is due at 3:47pm Eastern/8:47pm UK.
Update: The launch was scrubbed because of an electrical fault involving two heaters for one of the auxiliary power units which power the hydraulics that move the flight surfaces during ascent and descent.