NASA's beloved Endeavour is making its last victory lap in the sky tomorrow, piggy-backed atop a 747.
Putting one aircraft on top of another, in this case, makes practical sense. But why would NASA endeavor to add a useless "u" in the spelling of Endeavour?
Despite the fact that NASA and Endeavour are American, the shuttle was named after the first ship commanded by the legendary 18th century British explorer and mathematician James Cook.
Commissioned by King George III, the maiden voyage of the HM Bark Endeavour was commanded by then-Lt. Cook to sail into the South Pacific and around Tahiti. Its mission was space-related as the Brits wanted to observe the 1769 passage of Venus between the Earth and the Sun.
The entire voyage took nearly three years and almost ended in tragedy when the ship had a close call near the Great Barrier Reef.
Inspired by that long, strange trip, NASA named the shuttle after Cook's ship and retained the original spelling according to JPL spokesman Guy Webster.
Endeavour is also named after the command module of Apollo 15. That Endeavour is currently on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
Having two Endeavours in their history didn't stop someone at NASA from accidentally misspelling a sign of support several years ago.
In July 2007, a few weeks before a scheduled mission at the Kennedy Space Center, NASA personnel hung a banner reading "Go Endeavor."
The banner was up for more than an hour before being replaced by one with the correct British spelling. Because photographers were in attendance to view the spacecraft's arrival to the launch pad, the mistake was documented for eternity.