Endeavour on penultimate shuttle mission

Washington DC
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Space shuttle Endeavour launched on 16 May on STS-134, its final mission before retirement and penultimate before the shuttle programme ends.

At 08:56 EST, Endeavour lifted off from pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center carrying supplies and scientific payloads to the International Space Station (ISS).

It is planned the shuttle will dock with the ISS on 18 May, with its return to Earth scheduled for 1 June. The launch was postponed from 29 April because of electrical problems.

Endeavour is carrying 150 scientific experiments, including the alpha magnetic spectrometer, a sensor that will be attached to the ISS to measure cosmic rays for evidence of antimatter and dark matter.

On its return, Endeavour will be retired and sent to the California Science Center in Los Angeles.

The shuttle's decommission will leave the US without an independent means of putting humans into space until commercial launch providers start operating in 2016.

STS-134 marks Endeavour's 25th flight into space.