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Vapor trails follow space shuttle Endeavour as it approaches Runway 15 on the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the final time. A vapor trail, known as a contrail, is a cloud of water vapor that condenses and freezes around the small particles in aircraft exhaust. Main gear touchdown was at 2:34:51 a.m. EDT, followed by nose gear touchdown at 2:35:04 a.m., and wheelstop at 2:35:36 a.m. On board are STS-134 Commander Mark Kelly, Pilot Greg H. Johnson, and Mission Specialists Mike Fincke, Drew Feustel, Greg Chamitoff and the European Space Agency's Roberto Vittori.
STS-134 delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS) and the Express Logistics Carrier-3 (ELC-3) to the International Space Station. AMS will help researchers understand the origin of the universe and search for evidence of dark matter, strange matter and antimatter from the station. ELC-3 carried spare parts that will sustain station operations once the shuttles are retired from service. STS-134 was the 25th and final flight for Endeavour, which has spent 299 days in space, orbited Earth 4,671 times and traveled 122,883,151 miles.
Date Released: June 1, 2011
Photo Credit: NASA/Kevin O'Connell