The Endeavour’s presidential send-off
April 29th, 2011
11:28 AM ET

The Endeavour’s presidential send-off

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida (CNN) – With the curtain closing on America’s space shuttle program, President Obama will bring his wife and two daughters to witness the 25th and final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour, which appears to be a “go” for it’s scheduled 3:47pm launch.

Before takeoff, the family will tour the Orbiter Processing Facility, where the space shuttle Atlantis is being prepared for its final launch in June.

Obama will become only the second president to attend a shuttle launch. President Bill Clinton watched Discovery takeoff in October 1998.

The shuttle commander, Mark Kelly, is also the husband of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in January. The congresswoman is expected to watch the launch with other family members of the Endeavour crew. The first family is expected join NASA Director Charles Bolden, Jr. in the Launch Control Center.

Commander Kelly will oversee the two-week mission, during which the crew is expected to make four spacewalks and deliver supplies, spare parts and a $2 billion particle physics detector to the International Space Station.

At the time of its scheduled landing, according to NASA, Endeavour will have traveled more than 100 million miles during 25 flights and spent more than 294 days in space.

President Obama last visited the Kennedy Space Center in April 2010, where he outlined what the White House called a “bold strategy for human spaceflight,” which includes relying more on the private sector than government funding. The administration has been criticized for canceling NASA’s Constellation human spaceflight program.

“Nobody is more committed to manned space flight, to human exploration of space than I am," said Obama in April 2010. “But we’ve got to do it in a smart way, and we can’t just keep on doing the same old things that we’ve been doing and thinking that somehow is going to get us to where we want to go.”

Topics: NASA • The Family • The News

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. FedUp

    How nice that the President will be flying his family, courtesy of the American taxpayers, to watch the shuttle launch. Bet there are many unemployed and people that don't have enough money for gas that would love to be there too. Maybe Obama should follow his own advice – vacation close to home – at his own expense, not ours.

    April 29, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Ism

      How do you even know he's using tax payers money? IN 2011, your comments show your obvious signs that you are not willing to work hard and are taking it out on the president.

      April 29, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Guest

      wow really, the PRESIDENT shouldn't attend the LAST mission because the previous administration has bankrupted this country? you are an idiot. if he didn't attend, you and your tea baggers would be the first to complain. just admit you are racist and cant handle a black president. you can lie through your keyboard but we all know thats the truth.

      April 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Mac in Florida

      Okay, that response sounds really thought out. Did you complain when G.W. took all his vacations? I bet you did not.
      Ohh, and do you really think that the unemployed really want to watch the Shuttle Launch? No, they would rather sit on their butt and watch tv all day not caring a bit about what goes on around them.
      I get so tired of hearing you people complain about tax money. If you were so woried you would stand up and do something about it instead of running your mouth about it. You are part of the problem! Now get back to work, the drivethru is backed up.

      April 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It was amazing to see Mrs. Giffords climb the stairs of the aircraft to see her husbands take-off, she and her husband our American heroes. There are no heroes in that Palin family and I will never, ever forget the "crosshairs" Palin put on Mrs. Giffords, nor will I forget the 8 yr. old girl and others who were killed and injured.

    April 29, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      The DLC used the same language in the 2004 campaign. Here is a link to the Democratic Leadership Council website.

      From news people to your beloved president they all, unfortunately, use terms of war. However trying to match the actions of a crazed gunman with Sara Palin is just simply crazy. From all due accounts, his youtube videos (burns an American Flag), rants about the school and letters left at his parents house he was not a follower of any Conservative group. In fact he had volunteered for Ms. Gifford. He may have been upset that she did not use his help again. We may find out more during the trial.

      April 29, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  3. Naptown

    Hey FedUp, Get a Life!!

    April 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  4. Right

    Do us all a favor and drop obama off on the moon

    April 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  5. suck it up

    Cheese with that whine? Get a job. .Palin is nothing more than a domestic terrorist

    April 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  6. deb0155

    I am really getting upset with the Obama family vacations at the expense of the taxpayers! That family is nothing but leeches on the American taxpayer! Let them pay for their own vacations and their own healthcare – just like every other American! These people are disgusting!

    April 29, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Eldora

      Wow, this is in every respect what I neeedd to know.

      June 23, 2011 at 4:03 am |
  7. dave

    U tea bagging right wing moron go back to youir double wide and thank obamA for trying to fight people of youir ilk to help save us from gwb

    April 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  8. puddles

    Go dave the irs is after my 85 yr. old mom for not filing a return in 08. she hasnt worked in 10 yrs. the ad late fees and penilties and threats her with liens on a old house. she is blind and deaf. – cant afford to hire some to take care of her with a pt job andmaking less then a cna gets pd.

    April 29, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  9. tom

    Seriously? Vacationing on tax-payer's expense? How many times did GW fly over to Texas to play on his farm? If you truly are disgusted; get off your a$$ and run for office. I'd love to hear how you are going to fix things for everyone. Your comments really do nothing for the story and are a waste of space.

    April 29, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  10. What?

    Did the article say anything about President Obama being on vacation. I am sure any sitting President would go to observe one of the final space flights. Every President before President Obama has received healthcare, vacation time and pensions, but since he and his family are Afro-Americans they should not get the same things the white Presidents received. I am sure your next message will be "It's not because he is black, some of my best friends are black". Hate eats from within and will make your like awful. Let me assure you that in America the future generations are not just black or white but includes all races. STOP THE MADNESS.

    April 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
  11. KeepYourHopeAndChange

    Coming to admire his handy work I guess.

    "Look at this kids! With the stroke of a pen I made all this go away. Pretty cool hunh?"

    April 29, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • lawl

      Actually, it was Bush Administration that killed off the shuttle program long before Obama had even begun campaigning for president. However, it was Obama who killed off the Constellation program and marginalized the goal Bush set of landing men on Mars.

      April 29, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • vbscript2

      Exactly what I was thinking. "Look kids! This is the kind of cool, innovative things America did before they stupidly elected me. We used to actually lead technological advancement before I came along."

      April 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  12. vbscript2

    Too bad... looks like he'll have to miss it now... unless they make yet another trip down there at taxpayer expense.

    April 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Theresa

      Your article prfeectly shows what I needed to know, thanks!

      June 23, 2011 at 1:39 am |
  13. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @What? Those are my sentiments exactly! That's all it is. Had it been John McCain, or even Hillary Clinton, we wouldn't be hearing a thing about 'taxpayer money'! We wouldn't have been hearing the begrudgenous attacts of 'at the taxpayers expense'! We didn't hear it during the last BUSH/CHENEY ERA; even though America's problems started with them; and their failed policies are the 'founding' reasons we are here! It's nothing but hate, prejudice, and racism! They will call you a racist for pointing it out!

    April 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  14. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @Guest; Good comment. So obvious isn't it? They really think we are all fools!

    April 30, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  15. Last of a dying breed.

    This is hilarious1 how people care way more to talk shit about the president than space travel there is more to life than the bs your all spooing out.and 2 how the only time people are interested in vehicles entering space is when is this big ton of shit that take a long ass time to get out of the atmosphere ending space program?yea suck my dick.Its well known we have been back engenieering crashed unidentified objects that fall out of the sky. but just me even saying that makes me a crazy guy ha its 2011. open your EYES.Its funny nasa gets you hyped up for this little thing that makes the human race look retarded. do your research. even high ranking goverment officials think nasa is bullshit.

    May 5, 2011 at 2:16 am |
  16. Liz Carter in Georgia

    I don't know why I even am responding to this, but for some reason I am compelled to. Your comment about NASA is so twisted to me. I didn't understand it! I know this; you are one nasty kook! THAT WAS SO UNNECESSARY! Suck your dick?!? Not in this day and time, Mr! Not a good idea! Too dangerous! A girl or a boy could probably get a HIV/AIDS of the throat! Especially since you actually said you were one of the 'Last of a dying breed'. But, that's really telling'em, isn't it! MAY GOD BLESS YOU!

    May 5, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      Liz, you have violated CNN Service Agreement, I hope they ban you from this blog. This time you have truly gone too far.

      CNN Service Agreement
      2. Community Guidelines & User Content
      You agree not to upload, post or otherwise transmit any User Content that is offensive to the online community, including blatant expressions of bigotry, racism, abusiveness, vulgarity or profanity.

      May 5, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  17. Cheyanna

    All of my qusetoins settled—thanks!

    June 24, 2011 at 11:58 am |