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A Shuttle Called EndeavourNASA's space shuttle Endeavour flew its final mission in 2011, and the space plane is now heading into retirement as a museum showpiece at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
Over the course of its 19-year spaceflight career, Endeavour logged nearly 123 million miles (198 million kilometers) and zipped around the Earth more than 4,600 times. Here are some other interesting facts about the orbiter.
FIRST STOP: It's NASA's Baby
NASA's Shuttle BabySlide 2 of 13
NASA's Shuttle BabyEndeavour is the youngest member of NASA's now-retired space shuttle fleet. The orbiter was built as a replacement for the shuttle Challenger, which was lost in the January 1986 accident that also killed its seven-astronaut crew.
Congress authorized the construction of Endeavour — NASA's fifth spacegoing shuttle — in 1987, and the orbiter first blasted off in 1992. Endeavour flew a total of 25 space missions, with the final one launching in May 2011.
NEXT: Named By KidsSlide 3 of 13
Endeavour Named by StudentsSlide 4 of 13
Endeavour Named by StudentsEndeavour is the only shuttle to have been named by children. In 1988, NASA staged a national competition among elementary and secondary school students to hang a name on the new shuttle. The kids were given some guidance; the name had to be based on a historic oceangoing research or exploration vessel.
Then-president George H.W. Bush announced the winning name in May 1989. The shuttle's namesake, H.M.S. Endeavour, was commanded by Britain's James Cook on his epic 18th-century voyage of discovery in the South Pacific (hence the orbiter's British spelling).
NEXT: Built from Spare PartsSlide 5 of 13
It Was Built from Shuttle LeftoversSlide 6 of 13
It Was Built from Shuttle LeftoversWhile Endeavour debuted a fair amount of new gear — it was the first shuttle to use a drag parachute during landing, for example, and it featured advanced avionics systems — much of the orbiter was built from spare parts.
These pieces were left over from the construction of the shuttles Discovery and Atlantis. This recycling ethic helped keep Endeavour's construction costs down to $1.7 billion, according to NASA officials.
NEXT: Hubble Space Telescope HeroSlide 7 of 13
Endeavour Helped Save Hubble Space TelescopeSlide 8 of 13