May 16 2011 3:01pm

The Endeavour Has Launched!

The staff was super excited for the launch of the Endeavour at the end of last month...and then it got postponed. But now we can say, with authority, that the Endeavour has launched! It is in space! Right now!

Check out the launch video from this morning. Update: the best picture ever is also below the cut.

Gabrielle Giffords was present again to watch her husband make the trip (for real this time), as it launched at 8:56 am Eastern Standard Time. She watched with the families of other shuttle crew members.

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson had some interesting launch factoids on his Twitter account as the morning went on: apparently, the reason why the shuttle uses the British spelling is because it was named for Captain Cook’s ship. While it may have taken Colombus three months to cross the Atlantic Ocean, the Endeavour managed it in 15 minutes. Also, the sparks that issue from the shuttle right before takeoff occur to burn off any hydrogen that may have gathered from the main engine.

We’re also fans of the Star Trek-inspired poster that the Endeavour crew chose to do for their mission. Seriously epic, guys.

Update: check out this amazing picture that Stefanie Gordon got of the flight from her airplane window, on the way to Palm Beach. Gorgeous:

Stubby the Rocket totally high-fived the Endeavour as it passed into orbit.

James Goetsch
1. Jedikalos
Go Endeavour! And no kidding, that poster is great. Now America needs to get going on its next launch vehicle!
2. Stargazer
So beautiful! That's a truly great photo. I was there at the launch site, on the causeway at KSC, and Endeavour slipped out of view through those clouds all too soon. But the rumbling thunder of her ascent rolled on and on and on. A very good morning!
Jenny Thrash
3. Sihaya
Press to MECO for auld lang syne. Beautiful photo!

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