Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX), made the following statement after the successful launch of the STS-134 mission, representing the final mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.
"For more than thirty years, the talented men and women of NASA's space shuttle team have done an extraordinary job. They deserve tremendous credit for their accomplishments and their continuing commitment to the success of the program, which has pushed the boundaries of science, space exploration, and engineering. The shuttle program provides an incredible capability that will be missed after it is retired.
"I am very thankful that our beloved friend and colleague Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was well enough that she could travel to watch her husband, Mark Kelly, command Endeavour's final journey to the International Space Station. Gabby is the Ranking Member of our Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, and is dedicated to ensuring that our nation remains a leader in human space exploration. I wish Commander Mark Kelly and his crew a successful flight and a safe return."
During the 14-day mission, Endeavour will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which is a state-of-the-art particle physics detector. Endeavour will also deliver spare parts to the International Space Station, including two S-band communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank and additional spare parts.
This will be the 36th shuttle mission to the International Space Station. After this mission, just one more flight to the Station is planned, before the shuttles are retired later this year.