May 31st, 2011: STS-134: Endeavour Lands Safely and Completes Her Final Mission

Congratulations to Endeavour! Space Shuttle STS-134 completes a perfect (and sadly final) mission!!! Congratulations to the crew. Your closing song from us was "Jetstream" by Lusine ICL.

Endeavour's crew members are Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Greg H. Johnson and NASA Mission Specialists Mike Fincke, Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff and European Space Agency Mission Specialist Roberto Vittori.

The launch was delayed from the original launch date of April 20th. Here's a behind the scenes look at NASA Kennedy Space Center on STS-134's scrubbed launch day. It will give you a little insight into what will be happening this weekend.

STS134 Launches

May 17th, 2011: Atlantis moves from Processing Facility to VAB to be mounted to external tanks and SRBs. (aka "Rollover")

Normally, this doesn't happen until weeks after the previous shuttle has returned, however, due to launch delays with STS134, Atlantis, STS135, was on schedule to move to the VAB today. Tomorrow morning, it will be shifted to a vertical position for mounting the SRBs and Main Tank.

Atlantis stops for a couple hours in front of the VAB, as the NASA employees and contractors who worked on preparing it for this launch (the "Processing Team") celebrate the completion of their work. This time is special, however: this is the last ever shuttle to be processed for launch, and the last ever to be launched.

Here's a gallery of the photos from the rollout on Tuesday:

STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover STS-135 Atlantis Rollover

Endeavour Launches!!!!!

With much excitement and anticipation, Endeavour lifted off on time for a beautiful launch, albiet partially obscured when it flew through the clouds. The sound was more impressive than normal because of the clouds though!

STS134 Launches
STS134 Launches
STS134 Launches
STS134 Launches
STS134 Launches
STS134 Launches
STS134 Launches
STS134 Launches

The crew will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS) and critical supplies to the space station, including two communications antennas, a high-pressure gas tank and additional parts for the Dextre robot. AMS is a particle physics detector designed to search for various types of unusual cosmic matter -- dark matter, antimatter, those kinds of things -- and help us figure out how the universe began among other things. The crew also will transfer Endeavour's orbiter boom sensor system to the station, where it could assist spacewalkers as an extension for the station's robotic arm.

L-0: Launch Day: May 16, 2011

Everything is still go at 8:17am Eastern. We are in a built-in hold of the countdown at T Minus 9 minutes and holding.

7:11am Eastern: The tile has been repaired and they're doing a re-inspection.

7:07am Eastern

Possible issue with a broken tile around the hatch door, repair is underway. In the past they have repaired these quickly. Countdown continues.

6:15am Eastern

The Astronauts have left quarantine, boarded the Astrovan, and now are boarding and being strapped into their seats in Endeavour by the closeout crew. All of the crew members are now onboard.

Endeavour's crew waves to NASA employees and reporters before getting on the Astrovan


Endeavour sets on it's pad before sunrise on Monday

L-0: Launch Day: May 16, 2011 2:00am Eastern

The Astronauts are awake, and we'll be heading to watch them walk out of the quarentine area and entering the Astrovan soon. The media center is filling up with reporters who like us are all busy in front of their laptops.

L-0: Launch Day: May 16, 2011 1:00am Eastern

It's slightly quiet in the media center at this hour. Most reporters I talked to earlier said they were planning on coming back around 4am Eastern. We'll post some more pictures soon.

STS134 Fueled and Counting Down

The Night before Launch: May 15, 2011 11:00pm Eastern

The shuttle will be filled with over a half-million gallons of fuel starting at 11:30pm eastern tonight (03:30 GMT).

Crowds are already arriving at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. It also appears that a lot of people are heading to the popular viewing sites around to camp at overnight. PRO TIP: You may be still be able to buy a parking pass from the Clarion Inn in Titusville, who has a parking lot with a great view of the launch site about 7 miles away. (Much better than the views from, say, the Astronaut Hall of Fame.)

Shuttle Update: May 15, 2011 2:20pm Eastern

The RSS is the Rotating Support Structure which protects the shuttle and allows technicians to access it before launch. It was rolled away at Noon Eastern time today, 15-May-2011 in preperation for launch Monday morning at 8:56 EDT.

STS-134 RSS Rollback

STS-134 RSS Rollback

STS-134 RSS Rollback

Shuttle Update: May 15, 2011 8:00AM Eastern

On Kennedy's Launch Pad 39A, the rotating service structure is scheduled to be moved away from Endeavour starting at noon Eastern time on Sunday. Weather for launch tomorrow is still 70% "Go". Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach said "the countdown is going extremely well and the team is ready to go."

Launch Control Center

Kennedy Space Center Launch Control Center and Vehicle Assembly Building

Shuttle Update: May 13, 2011

"Everything is going on schedule," reported NASA Test Director Jeff Spaulding. Shuttle Endeavour is scheduled to liftoff on Monday at 8:56am Eastern time (5:56am Pacific). Currently, there is a 70 percent chance acceptable weather conditions a launch time, although there will be storms rolling through Kennedy Space Center over the weekend.

The launch of STS-134 was delayed over 2 weeks because of technical issues. The original launch was scrubbed a few hours before the scheduled liftoff time. We were there, and here's a behind the scenes look at NASA Kennedy Space Center on launch day. Even though the shuttle didn't launch, we met astronauts and got to see President Obama.

SomaFM will return to Kennedy Space Center on Sunday for the pre-launch countdown activities and will continue our coverage through the landing.

Shuttle Update: May 3, 2011

NASA technicians working on Launch Pad 39A removed the faulty power box from Endeavour overnight. A new box is set to be installed today.

Launch Delay Update: 2-May-2011

NASA managers determined it's not possible to launch Endeavour until no earlier than a May 10th.

Launch Delay Update: 30-Apr-2011

Right now, 2:30pm Eastern, NASA techs have opened up the access panels and are troubleshooting the failed systems.

President Obama Visits Kennedy Space Center: 30-April-2011

President Obama visited the Kennedy Space Center for a couple hours today. He was originally scheduled to view the launch, but after it was scrubbed he came for a tour and to meet with NASA employees.

As his motorcade left the NASA Launch Control Center, he waved to us and the other media.

Launch Scrubbed at least 72 hours!

A problem arose with a thermstat with the auxiliary power unit (APU), and unit number one had a failure of the heater that keeps it from freezing up in orbit. It was a "hard failure", something they could not remotely fix. In addition, the Load Control Assembly which works with the 2 APU heaters, has also failed. They have to get into the aft of the Orbiter to troubleshoot. It could be a simple short circuit, or it could be a more complex problem. To get to the failed parts, they'll have to drain the main fuel tank, which means they won't be able to see what failed until tomorrow.

The weather turned out to be beautiful, surprising after the rain storms this morning. This morning, we all thought the weather was going to cause the launch to scrub. But the weather turned beautufil and an unexpected problem caused the scrub.

L0: Launch Day: 30-April-2011

9:51am Eastern

They just announced that there are 5000 more people here to view this launch than there was for the final launch of Discovery a few months ago. President Obama will be viewing the launch in person as well. He's only the second sitting president to view a space shuttle launch in persion.

9:02am Eastern

A storm front is passing through the south of the Launch area. Weather radar shows that this is a fast moving storm front and there is nothing behind it.

There is one small technical issue that shuttle technicians are working on, a difference in tank pressure in 2 of the tanks likely caused by a faulty regulator. They anticipate having it fixed without causing a launch delay. Issues like these are common at the last moment and NASA technicians are used to handling them quickly.

T Minus 3 hours, 50 minutes. The crowds are just starting to arrive at Kennedy Space Center and it's getting exciting. The Tweetup group is heading to the countdown clock for a group photo, hope they don't get caught in the rain!

6:55am Eastern

Tanking operations have begun. About a half-million gallons of fuel is being loaded into Endeavour's fuel tanks. NASA says the weather remains 70 percent "go" for today's launch, with a chance of low cloud ceilings and crosswinds.

SomaFM's deak at NASA for the STS134 Shuttle Launch
Image Credit: NASA

L-1: 29-April-2011

11:35pm Eastern

Rollback scheduled now for 11:45pm Eastern. The rollback is a slow process, where the Rotating Support Structure is slowly moved away from the space shuttle, preparing it for launch. We were told that if the weather prevented it from rolling back by midnight, the launch would have to be delayed 24 hours. Looks like the weather is co-operating!

Below: Close up view of RSS as of 11:30pm Eastern

SomaFM's deak at NASA for the STS134 Shuttle Launch
Image Credit: NASA

9pm Eastern

RSS rollback delayed until at least 11:30pm EST. We had some really, really crazy weather. A Level 2 lightning storm with high winds and hail advisories. Everyone had to go inside a building or in a bus or vehicle until the storm passed, which was still going on at 9pm eastern.

6pm Eastern

The RSS rollback (rotating support structure) is delayed an hour due to weather concerns. There is a small stormfront near the launch pad.

3pm Eastern

Today is L-1 or Launch minus One Day. Space Shuttle is now filled with a half-million gallons of fuel and will launch in less than 24 hours.

We arrived and set up our streaming audio feeds from KSC. Set up some recorders and cameras, and then walked around and took some photos.

SomaFM's deak at NASA for the STS134 Shuttle Launch

Below: Endeavour STS-134 on the launchpad behind the Countdown Clock

NASA STS134 Shuttle L-1 NASA STS134 Shuttle L-1 NASA STS134 Shuttle L-1

Below: The lawn at the press area, on launch day, this will be filled with people. The launch pad is to the right of this shot.

NASA STS134 Shuttle L-1

Below: The VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) and Fire Control Room

NASA STS134 Shuttle L-1

Below: Satellite trucks fill the media parking area.

NASA STS134 Shuttle L-1 NASA STS134 Shuttle L-1

Below: A very busy media center for L-1 (the day before launch)

NASA STS134 Shuttle L-1

Below: NASA Tweetup members ask an astronaut questions, part of the 2 day NASA Tweetup

NASA STS134 Shuttle L-1


SomaFM will be covering the launch of STS-134 beginning Friday, April 29rd. Please check back here for updates from Kennedy Space Center and SomaFM's unique perspective on the launch of the Space Shuttle.

Live View of NASA Launch Complex 39

Space Shuttle Video Images Space Shuttle Video Images Space Shuttle Video Images Space Shuttle Video Images

Launch day -- Friday, April 29

6:15 a.m. -- Fueling commentary coverage begins

Approx. 6:22 a.m. -- Tanking begins

10:30 a.m. -- Continuous launch commentary coverage begins

Crew Activities: (times may vary slightly)
6 a.m. -- Crew wakes up
11:18 a.m. -- Weather briefing (commander, pilot and mission specialist 2)(not on NASA TV)
About 11:28 a.m. -- Astronauts don flight suits
11:58 a.m. -- Depart for launch pad
12:28 p.m. -- Arrive at White Room and begin boarding Endeavour
1:48 p.m. -- Crew hatch closed and latched

3:47 p.m. -- Launch

Launching Monday, May 16 at 8:56am Eastern