Amid the tranquility of a wildlife refuge, space shuttle Endeavour rumbles off Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Endeavour began its final flight, the STS-134 mission, to the International Space Station on time at 8:56 a.m. EDT on May 16.
Endeavour and its six-member crew are embarking on a mission to deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS), Express Logistics Carrier-3, a high-pressure gas tank and additional spare parts for the Dextre robotic helper to the space station. Endeavour's first launch attempt on April 29 was scrubbed because of an issue associated with a faulty power distribution box called the aft load control assembly-2 (ALCA-2). For more information visit, www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts134/index.html. Kennedy coexists with the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, habitat to more than 310 species of birds, 25 mammals, 117 fish and 65 amphibians and reptiles. Photo credit: NASA/Sandra Joseph and Kevin O'Connell