The penultimate Space Shuttle mission, STS-134, began this morning as the shuttle Endeavor blasted into orbit this morning at a few minutes before 6AM PDT.<br />n<br />n<img src=”http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/545711main_2011-05-16-9_1600_428-321.jpg” alt=”” /><br />n<br />nAs usual, I was planning to be up and watching the launch via <a href=”http://spaceflightnow.com/” title=”space flight now dot com”>spaceflightnow.com</a>, but their site seemed to be experiencing difficulties. Perhaps they could not handle the load? Plan B was to go directly to the source, <a href=”http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/main/index.html” title=”nasa shuttle site”>nasa.gov </a>and navigate my way to NASA TV. As I tuned in and full screened the video feed, I saw that I arrived just in time. There were only 30 seconds left on the countdown clock!<br />n<br />nI knew right away that it wasn’t going to be a picture perfect launch. Lots of low clouds were covering the Florida sky.<br />n<br />nThe launch went without a hitch, as far as I could tell, and within minutes, they were down range hundreds of miles, on their way to low earth orbit, and the ISS.<br />n<br />nOver the next two weeks of the mission, I plan to monitor events as closely as I can. It’s exciting stuff, and it’s really too bad, a shame, really, that it will really end this year.