Endeavour Captain Ross Mattson has exchanged well wishes with the Commander of NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavour, Captain Mark E. Kelly, who is preparing for the shuttle’s final mission to space which was to be his Friday 29 April 2011 (US time) – on the 241st anniversary of James Cook’s landing in Botany Bay [the departure has had to be delayed, new date to be confirmed].
The Space Shuttle Endeavour was named after Cook’s famous vessel of discovery in which he became the first to chart the east coast of Australia. Our Endeavour and the Space Shuttle have along history – on the shuttle’s maiden flight in 1992 on which the crew carried a trunnel (wooden nail) into space. The nail was then hammered into the sternpost of the Endeavour replica in the Great Cabin – forever linking the 18th century sailing ship to the 20th-century space ship.
The two captains exchanged letters last week wishing each other a safe and successful voyage, and commenting on the similarities between the Space Shuttle Endeavour and Cook’s Endeavour.
“The Space Shuttle Endeavour has certainly embodied the same spirit of exploration, adventure and… we wish you and your crew safe passage for your final flight of the spacecraft Endeavour,” said Captain Ross Mattson in his letter.
The Space Shuttle Endeavour’s final mission will take 14-days. This will be the shuttle’s 36th mission to the International Space Station with the six-man crew will deliver a $2bn physics experiment.
In his letter to Captain Mattson, Space Shuttle Commander Captain Kelly said “maybe someday another Endeavour we now can only dream of will continue the spirit of exploration that the name represents, perhaps visiting new planets or even new star systems.
“…We are proud that our Space Shuttle shares its name with your sailing vessel and all that it represents,” he said.