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Photo Feature: Shuttle Endeavour Brought Back To Life, Briefly

Endeavour's flight deck, powered up as it would look to astronauts on their missions. Photo Credit: Julian Leek / Blue Sawtooth

Endeavour's flight deck, powered up as it would look to astronauts on their missions. Photo Credit: Julian Leek / Blue Sawtooth

Recently, Americaspace photographer Julian Leek was given the opportunity to visit space shuttle Endeavour’s flight deck while the orbiter was powered up, bringing OV-105 back to life and giving us a glimpse of what her astronaut crews viewed during their missions.  Over 2,000 controls, switches, and displays make up the flight deck – each with a specific purpose.

Considered the baby of the shuttle fleet, Endeavour was the fifth and final space shuttle to be constructed – brought into existence after the loss of Challenger in 1986.  Designated by NASA as Orbiter Vehicle 105 (OV-105), Endeavour flew 25 missions from 1992 – 2011, having travelled nearly 123 million miles through space while orbiting the Earth with various crews.  Nearly half of all her missions (12) were International Space Station assembly flights, including its last flight on STS-134, which launched from Kennedy Space Center on May 16, 2011.

Now retired from service, Endeavour continues transition and retirement processing at Kennedy Space Center’s Orbiter Processing Facility, where the vehicle is being readied for permanent public display as a museum piece for the California Science Center in Los Angeles later this year.  This most recent power up allowed for technicians to flush and drain multiple system lines, many of which cannot be accessed (opened/closed) without the vehicle “on”.

All Photos Credit:  Julian Leek / Blue Sawtooth

 

Aft Flight Deck

Aft Flight Deck

 

Pilot's Seat

Pilot's Seat

 

Commander's View

Commander's View

 

 

United Space Alliance ‘Spacecraft Operator’ Jay Beason sits on the flight of Endeavour in his last week of employment with the shuttle program.  Jay spent the last 24 years in the shuttle program, becoming the Sr. Aerospace Technician Spacecraft Operator.

United Space Alliance ‘Spacecraft Operator’ Jay Beason sits on the flight of Endeavour in his last week of employment with the shuttle program. Jay spent the last 24 years in the shuttle program, becoming the Sr. Aerospace Technician Spacecraft Operator.

Missions » ISS »

2 comments to Photo Feature: Shuttle Endeavour Brought Back To Life, Briefly

  • Mary Kanian

    WOW!!!! Stunning feature!! “ILLUMINATING” photos, to say the least! And how about that Jay Beason!! Still crazy after all these years????? You bet!!
    Final message from the shuttle??? “You’re gonna miss me when I’m GONE…”

  • Lee Garen

    Great photos, Julian…what an opportunity! So few of us have ever had that chance to be on the flight deck or close enough to get the shots you’ve been able to ‘snap’!