just a few more shuttle missions this year, and the fleet will be retired from use. sts-130 is the 130th shuttle mission and the 32nd mission to the international space station. they will be delivering the tranquility node, a seven windowed module which will serve as the control room for the station’s robotic arm. target launch date is currently set in the early morning of february 7, 2010. endeavour is the shuttle of choice.
my mom has a cousin whose daughter, jill, is the engineering branch chief in the aircraft operations division at johnson space center. in 1994, she was considered as an astronaut candidate. but her work with the t-38s is more notable. she helped upgrade the avionics to these aircrafts in the early 1990s. you can read more about this and the t-38s in the june 2008 edition of the johnson space center newsletter, “roundup” [pdf]. (the pdf is a better format for reading.) nasa tv has a clip (on youtube) of the dress rehearsal of the astronauts for sts-130. the jets in the beginning of this video are t-38s.
with someone from nasa twittering about the shuttle launches and everyone else in the virtual world responding and posting tweets of their own, you can follow an interesting stream of chatter about the sts-130 launch at twitter’s search page.
you can watch a time lapse account of the shuttle endeavour being rolled out from the vab to the pad. four hours shortened to to less than three minutes.