The space shuttle Endeavour, after weeks of delays, finally launched successfully this morning at 8:56 AM EDT from Launch Pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center. For its 25th and final mission, Endeavour will spend 16 days in space, which will include a docking at the International Space Station and the release of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), according to Space.Com.
[The AMS is] a $2 billion particle detector that will search for cosmic rays that might help unravel some of our most perplexing cosmic mysteries, such as what makes up the invisible dark matter thought to pervade the universe.
The featured image above is of Endeavours crew. My only issue? WHERE ARE THE WOMEN??? Come on, NASA – this is the second to last shuttle mission, don’t count out the girls. Oh well. At least STS-135 will include mission specialist Sandy Magnus.
UPDATE: For another really cool picture, head over to NBC’s PhotoBlog to see a picture of Endeavour from the window of a passenger airplane. The final space shuttle flight, Atlantis STS-135, will liftoff on July 8, 2011.