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Atlantis Begins Final Shuttle Mission


We Have Liftoff!

Space shuttle Atlantis launches into history at 11:29 a.m. EDT from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Aboard are four astronauts; Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim delivering the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts for the orbiting outpost.

Photo credit: NASA/Fletcher Hildreth

July 8, 2011

Atlantis and its four astronauts left Earth for the final space shuttle mission, which will cap off an amazing 30-year program of exploration, which launched great observatories, built an International Space Station, and taught us more about how humans can live and work in space.

With the International Space Station flying 220 miles high and east of Christchurch, New Zealand, Atlantis left Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11:29 a.m. EDT. There was a slight delay at T-31 seconds while retraction of the Gaseous Oxygen Vent Arm, or "Beanie Cap," was verified. Atlantis will dock with the space station on Sunday.

The STS-135 post-launch news conference will begin at 1:10 p.m. EDT from NAS's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Participating will be NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier, Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, Space Shuttle Program Launch Integration Manager and chairman of the pre-mission Mission Management Team Mike Moses, and Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach. The news conference will be carried live on NASA TV and online at www.nasa.gov/ntv.

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