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Shuttle Program Sunset

Atlantis to make final shuttle landing Thursday

shuttle
The Atlantis crew took this shot after departing the International Space Station for the last time on Tuesday, July 19.

July 20, 2011 –NASA’s 30-year space shuttle program is scheduled to end on Thursday morning, July 21, when Atlantis makes the final orbiter landing at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The shuttle and its STS-135 crew members made the program’s final launch from the Kennedy Space Center on July 8.

The four crew members delivered the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module filled with more than 8,000 pounds of supplies and spare parts to supply the International Space Station for the post-shuttle era.

On Tuesday morning, Atlantis undocked from the ISS for the last time, the crew performed an inspection of the shuttle’s thermal protection system, and the shuttle started the journey back to Earth.

According to NASA, Thursday's Kennedy landing opportunities are at 5:56 a.m. and 7:32 a.m. EDT (weather permitting). If the shuttle is unable to come home Thursday, additional opportunities are available on Friday at Kennedy and at the backup landing site, Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Atlantis launched its first mission in 1985. If the shuttle returns on Thursday, it will have taken 33 flights, traveled 126 million miles, and spent 307 days in space. For more information on the final mission, click here.

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