All six men have flown in space before; Fincke, in fact, has spent a year of his life in orbit on two separate space station missions. Past shuttle flights usually carried seven people, but NASA decided to leave one behind so there could be more "upmass" -- yes, that's a NASA word -- supplies for the station that NASA knows it will not be able to send after Endeavour and Atlantis are retired to museums.
So this is a sentimental journey. After the shuttles are finished, fully half the workers who serviced them will be laid off, and several years will probably pass before astronauts leave here for space again. In nearby Titusville, Fla., we passed an empty house for sale -- three bedrooms, two baths, for all of $32,000.
How's the mood? "It's hard to answer that question," said astronaut Good, "without using the word 'bittersweet.'"