Endeavor's final launch prompts special Arizona program

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PHOENIX - The Space Shuttle Endeavor will make its final launch for the International Space Station on Friday.

Here in Arizona, the Challenger Space Center AZ will commemorate the liftoff with an exclusive launch party featuring a narration of the launch from start to finish by Astronaut William G. Gregory.
Gregory, who piloted the Endeavor spacecraft on Mission STS-67, has spent more than 400 hours in space.

During its 14-day mission, Endeavor will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) and spare parts to the Space Station.  The trip marks the second to last launch for the American space shuttle program.

“It’s a big transition period for the space program and the United States because we’re going to have a period of time here that’s highly unusual because we’ll be depending on the Russians to get our astronauts to the Space Station,” said Gregory.

Gregory will host the Challenger Space Center AZ’s  “Endeavor Launch Party Presented by Cox”  Friday night, sharing personal insights on how the astronauts prepare during the exciting moments just before liftoff and giving attendees a virtual behind-the-scenes perspective of a launch. 

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to support this benefit,” Gregory said.  “Not only is it timely and pays tribute to the half-century of historic spaceflights that mankind has celebrated, but additionally it recognizes the great contributions that the Space Shuttle Program specifically has provided." 

"What better way to honor and remember all that the Space Shuttle Program has brought us than to recognize and support the Challenger Space Center - how it enhances learning about space for both young and old alike, and how it reminds us of the sacrifices made by my colleagues in the pursuit of space exploration.” 

Individual tickets for the Launch Party are available while they last on the Space Center’s website, www.azchallenger.org.