STS-134 Commander Mark Kelly prepares to take flight in a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) to perform touch-and-go landings on the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. STAs are Gulfstream II business jets that are modified to mimic the shuttle's handling during the final phase of landing. Practice landings are part of standard training before space shuttle Endeavour's upcoming STS-134 launch to the International Space Station.
Endeavour's six crew members are at Kennedy for the launch countdown dress rehearsal called the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) and related training. Targeted to launch April 19 at 7:48 p.m. EDT, they will deliver the Express Logistics Carrier-3, Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS), a high-pressure gas tank, additional spare parts for the Dextre robotic helper and micrometeoroid debris shields to the space station. This will be the final spaceflight for Endeavour. For more information visit, www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts134/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett