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July 22, 2011

NASA's Space Shuttle Program Ends With Atlantis Landing

Nasa Atlantis

ENLARGE

Photo: The Astrovan carrying the STS-135 crew rolls past the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and Launch Control Center (LCC), on its way to launch pad 39a and space shuttle Atlantis, Friday, July 8, 2011, at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The launch of Atlantis, STS-135, was the final flight of the shuttle program, a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Nasa Atlantis

ENLARGE

Photo: The STS-135 crew; Chris Ferguson, commander; Doug Hurley, pilot; Rex Walheim and Sandy Magnus, both mission specialists are seen before boarding space shuttle Atlantis at launch pad 39A prior to launch, Friday, July 8, 2011 at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The launch of Atlantis, STS-135, was the final flight of the shuttle program, a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Nasa Atlantis

Photo: Space shuttle Atlantis is seen on launch pad 39a moments after the STS-135 crew arrived for their launch, Friday, July 8, 2011, at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Nasa Atlantis

Photo: Space shuttle Atlantis is seen as it launches from pad 39A on Friday, July 8, 2011, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Nasa Atlantis

Photo: The space shuttle Atlantis is revealed as the rotating service structure (RSS) is rolled back at launch pad 39a on Thursday, July 7, 2011 at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Wrapping up 30 years of achievements, NASA’s Space Shuttle Program came to a “wheels stop” on Thursday at the conclusion of its 135th mission.

Shuttle Atlantis and its four-astronaut crew glided home for the final time, ending a 13-day journey of more than five million miles with a landing at 5:57 a.m. EDT at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Since STS-1 launched on April 12, 1981, 355 individuals from 16 countries flew 852 times aboard the shuttle. The five shuttles traveled more than 542 million miles and hosted more than 2,000 experiments in the fields of Earth, Astronomy, Biological and Materials Sciences.

The shuttles docked with two space stations, the Russian Mir and the International Space Station. Shuttles deployed 180 payloads, including satellites, returned 52 from space and retrieved, repaired and redeployed seven spacecraft.

According to NASA, this was Atlantis’ 33rd flight, and was the 135th and the final flight of the shuttle program.

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Posted by Editors at July 22, 2011 2:11 AM | Link to this Post

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