This amazing photo was taken from the International Space Station showing the Space Shuttle Endeavour over Cook Strait, New Zealand. It was taken on November 25, 2002, as the space shuttle approaches the International Space Station (ISS) during STS-113 rendezvous and docking operations.

Space Shuttle Endeavour over Cook Strait (ISS005-E-21472)
ISS005-E-21472 (25 November 2002) — The Space Shuttle Endeavour is backdropped over Cook Strait, New Zealand as it approaches the International Space Station (ISS) during STS-113 rendezvous and docking operations. Docking occurred at 3:59 p.m. (CST) on November 25, 2002. The Port One (P1) truss, which was later to be attached to the station and outfitted during three spacewalks, can be seen in the space shuttle’s cargo bay. Endeavour’s namesake, and her captain, First Lieutenant James Cook, moved through the waters of Cook Strait for the first time on Feb. 7, 1770. Image: International Space Station Imagery on the NASA spaceflight website

Space Shuttle Endeavour

A retired orbiter from NASA’s Space Shuttle program, Endeavour was the fifth and final operational shuttle built. It embarked on its first mission, STS-49, in May 1992 and its 25th and final mission, STS-134, in May 2011. It completed 25 missions while carrying a total of 173 crewmembers aboard.

It is named after the HMS Endeavour, a British Royal Navy research vessel that took Captain James Cook (7 November 1728 –  14 February 1779) on his first voyage of discovery between 1768 and 1771. That’s why the name is spelled in the British English manner, “Endeavour”, rather than the American English (“Endeavor”).

James Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.

HMS Endeavour off the coast of New Holland, by Samuel Atkins
HMS Endeavour off the coast of New Holland, by the British marine painter Samuel Atkins. Circa 1794. Image: Wikipedia

The Cook Strait is also named after James Cook. He sailed through it in 1770. lies between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It connects the Tasman Sea on the northwest with the South Pacific Ocean on the southeast and runs next to the capital city, Wellington. It is 22 km(14 mi) wide at its narrowest point and is considered one of the most dangerous and unpredictable waters in the world.


During the 14-day mission in late 2002, Space Shuttle Endeavour and its crew extended the ISS backbone with the P1 truss and exchanged the Expedition 5 and Expedition 6 crews aboard the station.

With Commander Jim Wetherbee and Pilot Paul Lockhart at the controls, Endeavour docked with the station on November 25, 2002, to begin seven days of station assembly, spacewalks, and crew and equipment transfers. This was Endeavour’s last flight before entering its Orbiter Major Modification period until 2007, and also the last shuttle mission before the Columbia disaster.


M. Özgür Nevres

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