The Last Flight: the US Space Shuttle Fleet Retired

Atlantis Comes Home for the Last Time

On July 8, 2011, the Space Shuttle Atlantis—the last active shuttle remaining  in service—launched for the last time at Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39A on mission STS-135.  The shuttle carried the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module to deliver supplies, logistics and spare parts to the International Space Station. Atlantis also carried a system to investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing spacecraft. 

     When Atlantis returned to earth, it was retired.  The three shuttles which have completed only half their missions were mothballed and will be put on display around the country.  TheStevenF.Udvar-HazyCenterat the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will become the new home for shuttle Discovery.  The Prototype Shuttle Enterprise, currently housed at the Udvar-Hazy Center will move to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York.  Space Shuttle Endeavour will be housed at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.  Atlantis will be on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex in Florida.  The Johnson Space Center in Houston, one of the centers for space flight development, was snubbed.  

Tomorrow, The US Hops a Ride to the Space Station       Rita Bay

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