Cook's voyage on the Endeavour also established the usefulness of sending scientists on voyages of exploration. While sailing with Cook, naturalist Joseph Banks and Carl Solander collected many new families and species of plants, and encountered numerous new species of animals.
Endeavour and her crew reportedly made the first long-distance voyage on which no crewman died from scurvy, the dietary disease caused by lack of ascorbic acids. Cook is credited with being the first captain to use diet as a cure for scurvy, when he made his crew eat cress, sauerkraut and an orange extract.
The Endeavour was small at about 368 tons, 100 feet in length and 20 feet in width. In contrast, its modern day namesake is 78 tons, 122 feet in length and 78 feet wide. The Endeavour of Captain Cook's day had a round bluff bow and a flat bottom. The ship's career ended on a reef along Rhode Island.
For the first time, a national competition involving students in elementary and secondary schools produced the name of the new orbiter; it was announced by President George Bush in 1989. The Space Shuttle orbiter Endeavour was delivered to Kennedy Space Center in May 1991, and flew its first mission, highlighted by the dramatic rescue of a stranded communications satellite, a year later in May 1992.
In the day-to-day world of Shuttle operations and processing, Space Shuttle orbiters go by a more prosaic designation. Endeavour is commonly refered to as OV-105, for Orbiter Vehicle-105. Empty Weight was 151,205 lbs at rollout and 172,000 lbs with main engines installed.
The orbiter Endeavour underwent a 8-month Orbiter Maintenance Down Period (OMDP) in Palmdale, CA. The most significant modification was the installation of an external air lock making Endeavour capable of docking with the International Space Station once construction begins late 1997. (Reference KSC Shuttle Status 7/30/1996).
OMDP to Palmdale
OMDP at KSC
The orbiter Endeavour underwent a 24-month Orbiter Maintenance Down Period (OMDP) at the Kennedy Space Center. Engineers and technicians spent 900,000 hours performing 124 modifications. These included recommended return to flight safety modifications, bonding more than 1,000 thermal protection system tiles and inspecting more than 150 miles of wiring. Eighty five of the modifications are complete and 39 are still underway. Two of the more extensive modifications included the addition of the multi-functional electronic display system (glass cockpit), and the three-string global positioning system. (Reference NASA Release 05-336).