Space shuttle Endeavour’s STS-134 mission Commander Mark Kelly and Pilot Greg Johnson
practiced shuttle landings in a Shuttle Training Aircraft, or STA, during training
related to a full launch dress rehearsal known as the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test
on March 30 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. The STA is a Grumman American
Aviation-built Gulfstream II jet modified to simulate a shuttle's cockpit, motion a
nd handling qualities. The test provides astronauts and ground crews with an
opportunity to participate in various simulated countdown activities, including
equipment familiarization and emergency training.
During the 14-day STS-134 mission, Endeavour’s six astronauts will deliver
to the International Space Station the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2, a particle
physics detector designed to search for various types of unusual matter by
measuring cosmic rays. The crew also will deliver the Express Logistics Carrier 3,
a platform that carries spare parts that will sustain station operations once
the shuttles are retired later this year. Endeavour is targeted to launch
April 19 on its final scheduled flight.