Tech UPTechnologyThe last flight of the Endeavor

The last flight of the Endeavor

endeavourThe last flight that will take place this afternoon onEndeavour it marks the prelude to the end of the space shuttle program, which now spans three decades and 133 missions. This ferry, named after the first ship of the British explorer James Cook, entered service almost 19 years ago replacing theChallenger, destroyed after a fatal accident. During this new mission, calledSTS-134, the crew will conduct four spacewalks, the last in their history.

On this occasion, the crew will leave theOBSS(the sensor system used to inspect the shuttle’s heat shield after launch) permanently on the International Space Station (ISS), where it will be used to inspect areas that the ISS robotic arm cannot reach, theCanadarm-2such as outdoor solar panels. With the OBSS, theCanadarm-2it will double in length reaching 30 meters.

TheEndeavour alsoWill “dance” one last waltz with the Station: The spacecraft will perform a series of maneuvers around the ISS to test a new type of sensor that could facilitate the docking of future ships to the orbital complex. These maneuvers will be carried out during the approach, docking, undocking and overflight phases. This particular choreography around the orbital complex will mimic a series of approach paths, up to a distance of 180 meters from the Station. The objective will be to test the operation of the Orion Relative Navigation Sensors, which could equip future US manned ships.

The“Grand finale” of the Space Shuttle program will be the STS-135 mission of Atlantis, scheduled for the end of June this year. When the era of the shuttle is over,the European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV)It will be the ship with the highest cargo capacity capable of transporting supplies to the Station.

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