Atlantis Blasts Off for NASA's Final Space Shuttle Mission
July 8, 2011 11:29 AM
comment(s) - last by
Space shuttle Atlantis blasted off at 11:29 a.m.
Space shuttle Atlantis launched today, marking the final mission and complete retirement of
Space Shuttle fleet.
Atlantis is the last of three remaining operational orbiters in NASA's Space Shuttle fleet. In February 2011,
Space Shuttle Discovery
was the first of the three to launch on its final mission after nearly 30 years of space travel. Then, in April 2011,
Space Shuttle Endeavour
was set to launch, but was delayed due to a broken set of heaters. It took off on its final mission in mid May instead.
Now, NASA's Space Shuttle fleet will be three-for-three as Atlantis
blasts into orbit
for its last mission as well.
Space Shuttle Atlantis first flew into space on mission STS-51-J in October 1985. It has completed 32 missions, spent 293 days in space, carried 191 crews and has traveled 120,650,907 miles. Atlantis is the only orbiter that cannot draw power from the
International Space Station
while docked there. Instead, it must provide its own power for fuel cells.
Atlantis' 33rd and final mission
, STS-135. It will be a 12-day mission to the International Space Station with the purpose of delivering supplies and spare parts, which will be contained in the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module.
Atlantis mission STS-135 carries a crew of four, including Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim.
"That is the most beautiful vehicle we've had to fly in space, ever, and it's going to be a long time until you see a vehicle roll out to the pad that looks as beautiful as that," said Walheim. "How can you beat that? An airplane on the side of a rocket. It's absolutely stunning."
Space shuttle Atlantis took off at 11:29 a.m. ET from Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. While some reports noted that weather could be obstacle possibly causing a delay, the astronauts started boarding Atlantis around 8:00 a.m. and the hatch was closed around 9:21 a.m. for flight.
Reports have estimated
that the crowd gathered in the area to see the launch ranged from 500,000 to 1 million people.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: I will truly miss the Shuttles
7/8/2011 1:21:36 PM
The original design was more efficient, capable, and also modular. Then the budget hacking monkeys took over and what we got was a fairly inefficient jack of all trades vehicle.
RE: I will truly miss the Shuttles
7/8/2011 4:23:18 PM
The economics of the original design were predicated on being able to turn over and re-launch the shuttles at a rate of about one launch a week. That way the cost of the buildings, employees, overhauls, and R&D could be amortized over a much larger number of flights.
That never happened. Expected gains in efficiency and reduced prep times with experience never materialized. The launch rate barely passed 4 per year, and so it became horrendously overpriced for the task it was doing.
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
Space Shuttle Endeavour Lands, Atlantis Steps Up to the Plate for Final Flight
June 1, 2011, 11:32 AM
Space Shuttle Endeavour Blasts Off for Final Mission
May 16, 2011, 8:48 AM
NASA Administrator Announces Mars Mission; Stresses Importance of ISS
April 8, 2011, 7:30 AM
Space Shuttle Discovery Embarks on Last Flight Today
February 24, 2011, 12:09 PM
Ancient Aliens? 11.2 Billion Year Old Solar System Discovered
January 29, 2015, 12:09 PM
Swarm of GMO Mosquitoes Set to Fly in South Florida
January 27, 2015, 6:40 PM
Crowdfunded Sex Toy Lets You Control the Action From Your Wii Nunchuk
January 15, 2015, 3:42 PM
Elon Musk Plays Warcraft; But Still Finds Time to Sleep, Build a Mars Colony Ship
January 6, 2015, 9:54 PM
SpaceX Scrubs Falcon 9 Launch to ISS, Barge Landing Test, Friday Redo Targeted
January 6, 2015, 4:02 PM
Quick Note; Wreckage of Malaysian-Owned Passenger Jet Found
December 30, 2014, 12:42 PM
Most Popular Articles
Under the Hood: How DirectX 11.3 and 12 Will Supercharge Windows 10 Gaming
January 23, 2015, 12:34 PM
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Packs 640 hp Punch with 200 mph Reach
January 23, 2015, 3:25 PM
Microsoft Shows Off Latest Windows 10 Build, Preps it for Next Week Release
January 21, 2015, 2:57 PM
Google Fixes Homophobic "Bug" in its Translator
January 27, 2015, 2:31 PM
Will Google Become America's Fifth Major Carrier?
January 22, 2015, 12:42 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information