STS-135: The Final Mission of the Space Shuttle Program – July 8, 2011
The final flight of the Space Shuttle Program is scheduled for tomorrow – July 8, 2011. The Space Shuttle Atlantis is being prepped for launch scheduled for 11:26 am Eastern Standard Time. I encourage all of you – our loyal Outer Space Universe Fans – to watch this historic event live on NASA.gov.
This will be the last time you will ever see a Space Shuttle leave the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center. After this mission the entire shuttle fleet will be retired.
STS-135 is a 12 day mission to the International Space Station. There will be a crew of four astronauts on board and they will carry the Raffaello Multipurpose Logistics Module which contains supplies and spare parts for the station.
Chris Ferguson is the Commander and he is joined by Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim.
Atlantis will be making it’s 33rd and final flight. It was the forth orbiter to fly in space and was named after the after the primary research vehicle for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts from 1939 to 1966. Construction of the Shuttle Atlantis began on March 3rd, 1980 and was delivered to Kennedy Space Center on April 9, 1985. It’s first mission was a classified Department of Defense mission and was launched on October 3, 1985. Atlantis can be remembered for launching the two planetary probes – Magellan and Galileo. It also launched the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. Atlantis also conducted the last repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope on May 11, 2009. So far, Atlantis has spent 294 days in orbit and has circled the Earth 4,648 times.
For me, tomorrow is a sad day. The shuttle program has been flying for 30 years. I’ve grown up with this program and it will be hard to say good by.