<p><strong><a id="internal-source-marker_0.09470465362670077" href="http://www.nasa.gov/">NASA</a>'s <a href="http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/shuttleoperations/orbiters/orbitersend.html">space shuttle <em>Endeavour</em></a>, which concluded its final mission Wednesday, pierces a thick layer of clouds above <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/united-states/florida-guide/">Florida</a> as it heads for the <a href="http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/space-exploration/international-space-station-article.html">International Space Station</a> on May 16. </strong></p><p>The launch was the last for the <em>Endeavour</em>, which had been in service since 1992. (See <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/05/pictures/110516-nasa-space-shuttle-launch-endeavour-final-science-mark-kelly/">"Space Shuttle Pictures: 12 Endeavour Images to Remember."</a>) On its 25th mission <em>Endeavour</em> ferried a six-member crew commanded by astronaut Mark Kelly. Its payload included a <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/04/110429-shuttle-launch-endeavour-ams-space-science-nation/">U.S. $1.5-billion cosmic ray detector called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the space station</a>.</p><p>Kelly landed the space shuttle at Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 2:34 ET Wednesday, the final touchdown in the <em>Endeavour</em>'s 19-year history.</p><p>"It's sad to see her land for the last time," Kelly told NASA mission control, "but she really has a great legacy."</p><p><em>—Ker Than</em></p>

Final Flight

NASA's space shuttle Endeavour, which concluded its final mission Wednesday, pierces a thick layer of clouds above Florida as it heads for the International Space Station on May 16.

The launch was the last for the Endeavour, which had been in service since 1992. (See "Space Shuttle Pictures: 12 Endeavour Images to Remember.") On its 25th mission Endeavour ferried a six-member crew commanded by astronaut Mark Kelly. Its payload included a U.S. $1.5-billion cosmic ray detector called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the space station.

Kelly landed the space shuttle at Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 2:34 ET Wednesday, the final touchdown in the Endeavour's 19-year history.

"It's sad to see her land for the last time," Kelly told NASA mission control, "but she really has a great legacy."

—Ker Than

Photograph courtesy NASA

Pictures: Space Shuttle Endeavour's Final Mission

See pictures of space shuttle Endeavour's final mission, from a cloud-busting launch to the shuttle program's last spacewalk to today's touchdown.

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