WASHINGTON, D.C. - As the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavor launches its final space flight mission - the second to the last for the Shuttle program - Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, released the following statement:
"Today the Space Shuttle Endeavor and its crew will embark on the critical mission of delivering the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the International Space Station. Though this historic launch is the final for Endeavor, it signals the continuation of the promising research made possible in space.
"I want to congratulate and thank Dr. Samuel Ting, Nobel Laureate, and professor of Physics at MIT, and his great international team for their commitment, perseverance, and expertise in developing the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and helping to make this historic moment in space exploration possible.
"This launch also marks the return to space of Commander Mark Kelly, and I wish him, the Endeavor crew, and all the dedicated men and women of NASA well as they set out for space. It is so encouraging to see Representative Gabrielle Giffords' continued recovery, and I am pleased she has witnessed her husband's historic return to space."