Space Shuttle Atlantis Blasts Into History

(Photo Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Space shuttle Atlantis on Pad 39A July 5
Space shuttle Atlantis on Pad 39A July 5, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida as preparations are made for the July 8 launch of STS-135, the final flight of the shuttle program.
(Photo Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
NASA Prepares For Launch Of Space Shuttle Atlantis
CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - JULY 07: Space Shuttle Atlantis sits on the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center beneath dark clouds and a rainbow July 7, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Atlantis is scheduled to lift off on July 8, but poor weather conditions could delay the final mission of the space shuttle program.
(Photo credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(Photo credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
The space shuttle Atlantis sits on Launch Pad
The space shuttle Atlantis sits on Launch Pad 39A on July 7, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Preparations continue for the launch scheduled July 8 launch of STS-135, the final flight of the shuttle program.
(Photo credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images News)
NASA Prepares For Launch Of Space Shuttle Atlantis
A girl plays with a space shuttle toy in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
(Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images News)
(Photo credit: Joe Raedle Getty Images News)
NASA Prepares For Launch Of Space Shuttle Atlantis
July 7, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
(Photo credit: Joe Raedle Getty Images News)
(Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images News)
NASA Prepares For Launch Of Space Shuttle Atlantis
July 7, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
(Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images News)
(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
The space shuttle Atlantis
View of the space shuttle Atlantis from the rotating service structure as the structure is rolled back on July 7, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida as preparations are made for the July 8 launch of STS-135, the final flight of the shuttle program.
(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Space shuttle Atlantis
The space shuttle Atlantis is seen as the rotating service structure (L) is rolled back on July 7, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Preparations continue for the July 8 launch of STS-135, the final flight of the shuttle program
(Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit: Win McNamee Getty Images News)
NASA Prepares For Launch Of Space Shuttle Atlantis
July 8, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
(Photo credit: Win McNamee Getty Images News)
(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Crew of the space shuttle Atlantis walk
Crew of the space shuttle Atlantis walk out before heading to the launch pad July 8, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in advance of the 11:26 a.m. (EDT) launch of STS-135, the final flight of the shuttle program. Leading the crew is commander Chris Ferguson (R, front), pilot Doug Hurley (L, front), followed by mission specialists Sandy Magnus (L, rear) and Rex Walheim (R, rear). Atlantis is poised to blaze a path into history Friday when it propels toward the heavens on the last-ever mission of the 30-year-old American space shuttle program.
(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News )
NASA's Final Space Shuttle Flight Lifts Off From Cape Canaveral
Space shuttle Atlantis blasts off from launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Centern July 8, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. This lift off is the last in the 30-year-old shuttle program.
(Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images News )
(Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News)
NASA Research Center Celebrates Atlantis Launch
On July 8, 2011 in Moffett Field, California.
(Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News)
(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
US space shuttle Atlantis lifts off
US space shuttle Atlantis lifts off on July 8, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the final flight of the shuttle program.
(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit: BRUCE WEAVER/AFP/Getty Images)
The space shuttle Atlantis launches
The space shuttle Atlantis launches on July 8, 2011 heading for space from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Atlantis' STS-135 mission will signal the end to NASA's most successful and longest running space program.
(Photo credit: BRUCE WEAVER/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
The space shuttle Atlantis lifts off
The space shuttle Atlantis lifts off on July 8, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the final flight of the shuttle program.
(Photo credit: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo credit: Robert Sullivan STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Space shuttle Atlantis astronauts
Space shuttle Atlantis astronauts (R to L) Commander Chris Ferguson, Rex Walheim, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandra Magnus are seen boarding their tranport on July 8, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
(Photo credit: Robert Sullivan STR/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo Credit: NASA/Dick Clark)
NASA's Final Space Shuttle Flight Lifts Off From Cape Canaveral
The exhaust plume from space shuttle Atlantis is seen through the window of a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) as it launches from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on the STS-135 mission, Friday, July 8, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Atlantis launched on the final flight of the shuttle program on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. The STS-135 crew will deliver the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module containing supplies and spare parts for the space station.
(Photo Credit: NASA/Dick Clark)
(Photo Credit: NASA/Dick Clark)
NASA's Final Space Shuttle Flight Lifts Off From Cape Canaveral
Space shuttle Atlantis is seen through the window of a Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA) as it launches from launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center on the STS-135 mission, Friday, July 8, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Atlantis launched on the final flight of the shuttle program on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. The STS-135 crew will deliver the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module containing supplies and spare parts for the space station.
(Photo Credit: NASA/Dick Clark)
(Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
NASA Prepares For Launch Of Space Shuttle Atlantis
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. Atlantis is set to liftoff Friday, July 8, on the final flight of the shuttle program, STS-135, a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.
(Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
NASA's Final Space Shuttle Flight Continues Mission To ISS
HOUSTON, TX - JULY 10: In this video screen grab provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Mission Control Center at Johnson Space Center directs NASA space shuttle Atlantis as it goes through a nine-minute Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver, or back flip to enable space station crew members to take high resolution digital pictures of the shuttle's heat shield July 10, 2011 in Houston, Texas. After the back flip is complete, Commander Chris Ferguson will fly Atlantis through a quarter circle to a position about 310 feet directly in front of the station, allowing the complex to catch up with the shuttle for docking Atlantis is embarking on a 12-day mission on July 8 to the International Space Station where it will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts. This will be the final launch of the space shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981 with the launch of Colombia.
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
Mission To ISS Continues For NASA's Final Space Shuttle Flight
IN SPACE - JULY 10: In this video screen grab provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NASA space shuttle Atlantis docks for the last time with the International Space Station July 10, 2011 in space. Atlantis has embarked on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station where it will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts. This will be the final launch of the space shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981 with the launch of Colombia.
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
NASA's Final Space Shuttle Flight Lifts Off From Cape Canaveral
GREENBELT, MD - JULY 8: In this handout provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), an employee in the Network Integration Center monitors the final launch of space shuttle Atlantis at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center July 8, 2011 in Greenbelt, Maryland. Atlantis has embarked on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station where it will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts. This will be the final launch of the space shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981 with the launch of Colombia.
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
Mission To ISS Continues For NASA's Final Space Shuttle Flight
IN SPACE - JULY 9: In this handout image provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NASA astronauts Chris Ferguson, STS-135 commander, and Sandy Magnus, mission specialist, are pictured on the aft flight deck of the Earth-orbiting NASA space shuttle Atlantis on the second day of activity July 09, 2011 in space. Atlantis has embarked on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station where it will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts. This will be the final launch of the space shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981 with the launch of Colombia.
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
Mission To ISS Continues For NASA's Final Space Shuttle Flight
IN SPACE - JULY 9: In this handout image provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NASA astronauts Chris Ferguson (L) and Doug Hurley are pictured at the commander's station and pilot's station, respectively, on the flight deck of the Earth-orbiting NASA space shuttle Atlantis on the second day of activity July 09, 2011 in space. Atlantis has embarked on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station where it will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts. This will be the final launch of the space shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981 with the launch of Colombia.
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
Mission To ISS Continues For NASA's Final Space Shuttle Flight
IN SPACE - JULY 10: In this handout image provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NASA space shuttle Atlantis in Earth orbit is seen during a Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver, or back flip to enable space station crew members to take high resolution digital pictures of the shuttle's heat shield before docking for the last time with the International Space Station July 10, 2011 in space. Atlantis has embarked on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station where it will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts. This will be the final launch of the space shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981 with the launch of Colombia.
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
Mission To ISS Continues For NASA's Final Space Shuttle Flight
IN SPACE - JULY 10: In this handout image provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a detail of NASA space shuttle Atlantis in Earth orbit is seen during a Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver, or back flip to enable space station crew members to take high resolution digital pictures of the shuttle's heat shield before docking for the last time with the International Space Station July 10, 2011 in space. Atlantis has embarked on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station where it will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts. This will be the final launch of the space shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981 with the launch of Colombia.
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
Mission To ISS Continues For NASA's Final Space Shuttle Flight
IN SPACE - JULY 10: In this handout image provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NASA space shuttle Atlantis in Earth orbit just before docking for the last time with the International Space Station July 10, 2011 in space. Atlantis has embarked on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station where it will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts. This will be the final launch of the space shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981 with the launch of Colombia.
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
(Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
NASA's Final Space Shuttle Flight Lifts Off From Cape Canaveral
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden congratulates the launch team in the NASA Kennedy Space Center Firing Room Four of the Launch Control Center (LCC) shortly after the space shuttle Atlantis, STS-135, launched on Friday, July 8, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The launch of Atlantis is the final flight of the shuttle program, a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.
(Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
Mission To ISS Continues For NASA's Final Space Shuttle Flight
IN SPACE - JULY 12: In this handout image provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NASA astronaut Mike Fossum, Expedition 28 flight engineer, waits at an International Space Station's pressurized mating adapter (PMA-2) docked to the space shuttle Atlantis, as the station's robotic system moves the failed pump module (out of frame) over to the spacewalking astronaut and the shuttle's cargo bay during a planned six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk July 12, 2011 in space. This is the 160th spacewalk devoted to station assembly and maintenance since construction began in 1998. Space shuttle Atlantis has embarked on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station where it will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts. This was the final mission of the space shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981 with the launch of Colombia.
(Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
The space shuttle Atlantis lands
The space shuttle Atlantis lands in the pre-dawn hours on July 21, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, ending its 13-day mission. Atlantis touched down for a final time Thursday, ending its last mission to the International Space Station and bringing down the curtain on NASA's 30-year space shuttle program. The shuttle and its four-member US crew landed safely at Kennedy Space Center at 5:56 am (0956 GMT), closing an era of human space exploration for the United States and leaving Russia as the world's only taxi to the ISS.
(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
(Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images News )
Atlantis Returns From Final Mission Of Space Shuttle Program
Space shuttle Atlantis returns on July 21, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
(Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images News )
(Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Atlantis Returns From Final Mission Of Space Shuttle Program
The STS-135 astronauts, from left, Mission Specialists Rex Walheim, Sandy Magnus, Pilot Doug Hurley and Commander Chris Ferguson all pose for photographers shortly after they touched down in the space shuttle Atlantis at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF), completing its 13-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) and the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program, early Thursday morning, July 21, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Overall, Atlantis spent 307 days in space and traveled nearly 126 million miles during its 33 flights. Atlantis, the fourth orbiter built, launched on its first mission on Oct. 3, 1985.
(Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
(Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Atlantis Returns From Final Mission Of Space Shuttle Program
NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and Commander Chris Ferguson talk underneath the space shuttle Atlantis shortly after Ferguson and the rest of the STS-135 crew landed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility (SLF), completing its 13-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) and the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program, early Thursday morning, July 21, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Overall, Atlantis spent 307 days in space and traveled nearly 126 million miles during its 33 flights. Atlantis, the fourth orbiter built, launched on its first mission on Oct. 3, 1985.
(Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
(Photo credit: Paul E. Alers/NASA via Getty Images)
Atlantis Returns From Final Mission Of Space Shuttle Program
CAPE CANAVERAL - JULY 21: In this handout image provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NASA employees and contractors wave flags and take pictures as space shuttle Atlantis rolls toward the Orbiter Processing Facility at a wheels stop event at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility July 21, 2011 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Space shuttle Atlantis was on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station where it delivered the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts. This was the final mission of the space shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981 with the launch of Colombia.
(Photo credit: Paul E. Alers/NASA via Getty Images)
(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
The space shuttle Atlantis lands
The space shuttle Atlantis lands in the pre-dawn hours on July 21, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, ending its 13-day mission. Atlantis touched down for a final time Thursday, ending its last mission to the International Space Station and bringing down the curtain on NASA's 30-year space shuttle program. The shuttle and its four-member US crew landed safely at Kennedy Space Center at 5:56 am (0956 GMT), closing an era of human space exploration for the United States and leaving Russia as the world's only taxi to the ISS.
(Photo credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
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