Image via Wikipedia
After 19 Years Two Giants (Endeavor and Shaq) Retire
NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavor
Boston Celtic veteran center Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal have both brought their massive careers to a close. The Endeavor is the youngest in the fleet of space shuttles for NASA and “Shaq” is one of the oldest active players in the NBA. These twin towers have had extensive careers built upon their activities and travels. As much as the Endeavor has been a force in outer space, Shaq has been a dominating force all over the planet earth.
The Endeavor and Shaq both know how to make an entrance and exit, as the replacement for the destroyed in mid-air Challenger, the space shuttle Endeavor was a breath of fresh air and had a wonderful run. Shaq was drafted into the NBA, by the Orlando Magic taking the young and budding team to new levels with his towering stature and dominance in the paint. The Endeavor, took off and landed with a earth-shattering sonic boom, over the years Shaq’s running the floor and catching the pass for the powerful slam dunks, often lead to what felt like a sonic boom in stadiums all over the world.
On its final mission, the Endeavor was being piloted by Captain Mark Kelly and his team of six astronauts. Close to a million people converged on Cape Canaveral, Florida to watch the Endeavor. Those onlookers included Captain Kelly’s wife, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, who is recovering from a life-threatening gunshot to her head. The Endeavor, at the end of its mission, after being partly dismantled, will be displayed at the California
Science Center in Los Angeles.
Shaq’s retirement is due to his being hampered with a torn Achilles that is only going to get worse if he continues to play in the league, even in a limited capacity. After capturing numerous individual awards and 4 championship rings (3 with the Los Angeles Lakers
and 1 with Miami Heat) on Wednesday, Shaq shared his decision to leave the game with his over 4 million followers on the social media giant, Twitter. In classic Shaq form (he has acquired a new nickname each of six times he has changed teams in his 19 seasons with the NBA), he asked his followers to give him a new nickname to embrace his new status of “retired”. The new name for Shaq is “401K”, an indicator of all of the money he would be living off of in his new state of retirement. On Friday, Shaq will hold a press conference at his (Orlando)/Isleworth mansion to formally announce that after 19 years he is hanging up his size 23′s to start his new life. In addition to being the owner of several businesses, Shaq is looking forward to completing his doctoral studies in Human Resources Development from Miami’s Barry University and being called “Dr. Shaq”.
The Endeavor made its mark by becoming a space shuttle that was built to commemorate the lost lives of the Challenger and to restore people’s believe in continued space exploration after a tragedy. Shaquille, the self-proclaimed “Superman” of the NBA brought back the excitement and presence of the “big man” with a likeable spirit, and bigger smile leading teams to victory at a new level. Both the Endeavor and Shaq came and made their impact on the world. The legacy of the space shuttle Endeavor and future Hall of Famer, Shaquille O’Neal
will long be felt by those who watched them over the last 19 years.
Two giants who have earned their places in history, the space shuttle Endeavor and Shaq have racked up some impressive stats:
Here’s a by-the-numbers look at Endeavour’s lasting legacy in space:
$1,800,000,000: The cost of space shuttle Endeavour in 1987 dollars when it was built to replace the space shuttle Challenger after the tragic 1986 launch failure that killed seven astronauts. While $1.8 billion may seem like a lot for a NASA shuttle, at the time it was roughly half the cost of earlier shuttles since NASA was able to use some spares to construct Endeavour.
The total miles Endeavour has traveled before launching on its last voyage. [Video: Endeavour's Final Mission
750,000: The number of spectators who turned out in Florida to watch Endeavour’s first launch attempt on April 29, 2011.
500,000: The number of spectators expected to turn out to Florida’s Space Coast to watch Endeavour’s final launch (the second attempt at liftoff) on May 16, 2011.
6,154: The number of entries in a national student contest to name the space shuttle Endeavour when it was built. The name Endeavour honors the 17th century sailing ship HMB Endeavour, which was captained by British seaman James Cook on a famous voyage of exploration in the South Pacific.
17,400: The speed at which Endeavour traveled (in miles per hour) to remain in orbit. It’s about Mach 25, or five times the speed of a bullet.
4,423: The number of orbits Endeavour made of Earth before launching on its last mission.
1992: The year Endeavour lifted off on its first flight. The orbiter carried seven astronauts to space on the STS-49 mission to rescue and repair a broken communications satellite.
283: The total number of days Endeavour has spent in space, not counting the 16 days it will add during STS-134.
167: The number of crew members Endeavour has carried to orbit, not including the six astronauts slated to ride the shuttle on the STS-134 mission.
25: The number of missions Endeavour will have flown by the time it is retired.
12: The number of times Endeavour will have visited the International Space Station by the time it is retired. The shuttle’s trips to the orbiting laboratory include the very first U.S. space station mission, the STS-88 flight in December 1998 that launched the first American space station module, Unity.
4: The number of space shuttles that NASA built before Endeavour. Its predecessors include Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, and Atlantis. [The Most Memorable Space Shuttle Missions]
3.5: The number of years it took NASA to build Endeavour. Construction on the orbiter began in September 1987, and completed in April 1991.
1: The number of times Endeavour has visited the Hubble Telescope in orbit. The shuttle was used to launch the first Hubble servicing mission, STS-61 in December 1993, which famously corrected the observatory’s faulty optics.
Shaq by the numbers:
Orlando Magic (1992–1996)
Miami Heat (2004–2008)
O’Neal’s individual accolades include the
three All-Star Game MVP awards,
He is one of only three players to win NBA MVP