Space Shuttle Endeavour
The empty payload bay of the space shuttle Endeavour is illuminated as the spacecraft zooms over city lights on Earth in May. This shot of the shuttle, at the time docked with the International Space Station, is among National Geographic News editor's picks for the best space pictures of 2011.
Endeavour is shown during its final mission, which was also intended to be the last flight for the 30-year-old NASA space shuttle program. Instead that honor went to the space shuttle Atlantis, which was approved for an additional mission and launched in July.
Editor's Note: A picture of the Milky Way over the Himalaya was removed from this gallery December 19 because photo editors and astronomers determined that the image was unacceptably manipulated.