Astronaut aims to break duration record

Astronaut Mike Fincke will serve as a mission specialist aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour‘s final flight which is scheduled for today at 3:47 Eastern Time. On this, his first (and last) Space Shuttle Mission, Fincke is set to break a record – the record for days spent in space by an American.

Before Endeavour returns home from her final voyage, Fincke will have surpassed astronaut Peggy Whitson’s existing record of 377 days in orbit.

Although this is Fincke’s first trip aboard a shuttle, he has twice  visited the International Space Station on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

The Space Shuttle program, which started in the 1960s and made its first flight in 1981 (Columbia), will end June 28 with the launch of Atlantis.

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