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Space shuttle Atlantis   (Source: NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Atlantis landed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 5:57 a.m. EDT

Space shuttle Atlantis made its final landing early this morning, marking a successful mission as well as the end of an era.

NASA has now officially retired its entire Space Shuttle fleet, which consisted of Space shuttle's Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis. Space shuttle Discovery made its final mission in February 2011, Space shuttle Endeavour completed its last jaunt to space in June 2011, and now, Space shuttle Atlantis has returned home to enjoy retirement as well.

Atlantis landed at NASA's Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida at 5:57 a.m. EDT. The 13-day mission to the International Space Station was nearly flawless, with only a few computer glitches that were easily managed. This was Atlantis' 33rd voyage.

While the crew was happy to be home safe, it was also an emotional arrival due to the fact that NASA's Space Shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981, is now closed after 30 years of service.

"The space shuttle changed the way we viewed the world, and it changed the way we view our universe," said Chris Ferguson, Atlantis' commander. "There's a lot of emotion today, but one thing is indisputable: America is not going to stop exploring. Thank you Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Endeavour and our ship, Atlantis."

Ferguson led a crew of three, including pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim. Their mission to the International Space Station provided supplies, equipment and food as well as over 9,400 pounds of spare parts and other supplies.

"We're going to put Atlantis in a museum now, along with the three orbiters, for generations that will come after us to admire and appreciate," said Ferguson. "And hopefully, I want that picture of a six-year-old boy looking up at a space shuttle in a museum and saying, 'Daddy, I want to do something like that when I grow up,' or 'I want our country to do fantastic things like this for the continued future."

The retirement of NASA's Space Shuttle fleet means that the U.S. has no way of sending humans into space. Russia is the only means of getting to space for American astronauts at this point.

The curtain has closed on NASA's Space Shuttle fleet, but we haven't stopped looking through our telescopes and asking, "What if?" quite yet. The next step is to travel to an asteroid by 2025, and Mars in 2030.

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Its been a long road
By Chaosforce on 7/21/2011 9:28:48 AM , Rating: 1
It's been a long road
Getting from there to here
It's been a long time
But my time is finally near

And I can feel the change in the wind right now
Nothing's in my way
And they're not gonna hold me down no more
No they're not gonna hold me down

'Cause I've got faith of the heart
I'm going where my heart will take me
I've got faith to believe
I can do anything
I've got strength of the soul
And no one's gonna bend or break me
I can reach any star
I've got faith, I’ve got faith, faith of the heart

RE: Its been a long road
By Manch on 7/21/2011 11:33:27 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for dragging up memories of that crappy show...

RE: Its been a long road
By acer905 on 7/21/2011 12:12:55 PM , Rating: 2
Crappy? First 2 seasons might apply, but the 3rd wasn't bad and the 4th was pretty good

RE: Its been a long road
By Manch on 7/21/11, Rating: 0
RE: Its been a long road
By Reclaimer77 on 7/21/11, Rating: -1
RE: Its been a long road
By Manch on 7/21/2011 10:03:47 PM , Rating: 2
Like I said I used crappy to be polite.

So Rec, did you like the Star Trek "reboot"?

RE: Its been a long road
By Reclaimer77 on 7/22/2011 12:47:35 AM , Rating: 1
As an action movie I enjoyed it. Except Star Trek isn't an action franchise and I felt it was WAY too soon to be "rebooting" it. The casting was populist, at times absurd. I mean, come on, Winonah Ryder as Spocks mother!?

It just seemed like all thunder and fury yet signifying nothing to me. Not nearly as re-watchable as the classics.

RE: Its been a long road
By Manch on 7/22/2011 10:44:49 PM , Rating: 2
Fair enough, I did like they way they "rebooted" it. This way it preserves the timeline of the original but allows a fresh start. I like the action part of it. Wrath of khan/Search for Spock had a good bit of action in them. The Save the whales one and the god one were horrible, but I liked the rest. Next gen movies were ok. The Borg one was the only good one. Generations was meh...

I think the next one will be better. This one had the challenge of reintroducing the characters and providing a story that was palatable to the core trekkies.

Wrath of Khan is the best tho. Think I'm gonn go watch it now.

RE: Its been a long road
By Chaosforce on 7/21/2011 3:02:26 PM , Rating: 2
The main point of why i posted the lyrics was due to the intro showing the progress into space and hopefully beyond

RE: Its been a long road
By Manch on 7/21/2011 10:06:20 PM , Rating: 1
Well, if I'm ever in space and some a-hole plays that song, I'll find some way to breach the hull.

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