Atlantis at Launch Pad 39A prior to STS-129
For those of you who watch this today...it was a historical day.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-104)
was one of the three Space Shuttle orbiters in the Space Shuttle
fleet belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA), the spaceflight and space exploration agency of the
United States of America.
(The other two surviving Space Shuttles are the Discovery
and the Endeavour.)
The Atlantis was the fourth operational (and the next-to-the-last)
Space Shuttle to be constructed by the Rockwell International
company in Southern California, and she was delivered to the
John F. Kennedy Space Center in eastern Florida in April of 1985.
In early 2008, the NASA Administrator, with the approval
of the President and the United States Congress, decided to
continue with the Atlantis making space flights until sometime
in 2010, the tentatively predetermined end of the Space Shuttle's
This reversed a previous decision to retire Atlantis in 2008.
On May 14, 2010, the Atlantis lifted off from the Kennedy
Space Center into outer space for her final planned spaceflight,
during which she visitedthe International Space Station (I.S.S.),
making deliveries of high-value cargo, providing manpower for
important extravehicular activities (EVAs), delivering new
astronauts to the I.S.S., and carrying away tons of trash
and unused/broken equipment.
It was smooth as silk," STS-132 Commander Ken Ham said
of Atlantis' entry and landing.
"We were clearly riding in the middle of a fireball, and it was
spectacular. The windows, all of them, were bright, brilliant orange.
"One of the neatest things was when we flew right into
orbital sunrise." Today, May 26,2010 Atlantis landed
at Kennedy Space Center at 8:48 a.m. EDT.
It landed on Runway 33.
Take a look at this:
The bright orange brilliance...watch it live
YouTube - On board view of a Space Shuttle launch sequence
NASA - Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle Atlantis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia