First family to attend Endeavour's final lift-off
The first family will watch the last launch of NASA’s youngest shuttle. After this mission, the shuttle will retire and will be sent for public display in a California museum. Endeavour will blast off from Kennedy Space Center in Cape
Canaveral, Fla. at 3:47 p.m. EDT on April 29.
Allard Beutel, Kennedy Space Center’s spokesman told Space.com, “We are a White House agency, we always welcome a visit from the president.”
Last time when Obama visited the Kennedy Space Center, he proposed a new direction for NASA and cancelled the NASA's moon oriented Constellation program for a human mission on asteroids and Mars.
Presidential visit to Kennedy Space Centre will make the launch day even more complex because it will require extra security at seaside spaceport.
Beutel said, “When he came here last April, that took a lot of special arrangements. It's the president. It's safe to say there always have to be special arrangements.”
The first family will not be the sole high profile attendee at the launch. US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Endeavour's commander wife Mark Kelly might also attend the launch. Gifford's presence will depend on her health and on her doctor’s advice. He is recovering after being shot in the head.
STS-134 mission will consist of a space walk for upgrading the orbiting laboratory and installing the spare parts on the International Space Station. Endeavour will also deliver astrophysics equipment, called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.
Endeavor's mission managers said that the mission will last for about two weeks, but NASA can extend the mission to do some extra work in the space station.
The Endeavor launch will be NASA’s second last shuttle launch. The final shuttle lift off of 'Atlantis' is scheduled for June 28. The other orbiters Discovery and Atlantis will be displayed in other museums.