Monday, barring yet another delay, the space shuttle Endeavour will take off on its 25th and final mission.
Each mission gets its own patch, of course, designed with input from the crew. The five coolest mission patches Endeavour has had: 5. STS-49, May 1992 Endeavour's inaugural flight paid tribute to its namesake, the ship that took British Captain James Cook on his first Voyage of Discovery (that's why it's annoyingly spelled like it is, as opposed to good, honest plain-spoken Amurrican). Cook's Endeavour, even in 1768, was apparently an aircraft carrier. Or maybe Ghost Rider just requested permission for a flyby.
4. STS-77, May 1996 In what is perhaps the most action-packed moment in shuttle history, the Endeavour jockeys through a laser-beam attack as ferocious as any seen by rebel fighters trying to get to the Death Star's thermal exhaust port. Unfortunately, one of the deadly beams seems to have hit Earth, destroying Manhattan.
3. STS-69, September 1995 This patch, obviously modeled on a Sit 'n' Spin, has an almost yin-yang feel to it, which is appropriate because it was mission number (heh-heh) 69. We're not quite sure why the two ships are circling around the Big A of Anaheim Stadium, but maybe the crew took along a Rally Monkey for medical experiments.
2. STS-88, December 1998 The power of Christ compels you....to help assemble the International Space Station!!! The cross of Jesus flies into space on this patch, hopefully protecting the astronauts from the massive explosion that seems to be hitting Earth.
1. STS-113, November 2002 We like the sheer comic-book brashness of this one -- the eye-popping colors, the crew names that look like they're on street signs, the Yellow Brick Road and the profusion of names in Cyrillic. Nothing staid about this patch.
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