The Retirement of Space Shuttle Atlantis

Atlantis reentering the atmosphere yesterday morning.

Yesterday the Space Shuttle Atlantis landed, returning from its final mission into space. This marks the final flight for NASA’s Space shuttle program.

Space Shuttle Atlantis launched for its final time July 8, 2011. It returned to Earth yesterday and will retire at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida. The Atlantis had an illustrious career. Here are some interesting facts about Atlantis:

-Construction began on March 30, 1980

-Atlantis was nearly 3.5 tons lighter than Columbia

-made 33 flights into space

-first Space Shuttle to dock with the Russian’s MIR

-Deployed the Magellan probe bound for Venus in 1989

-Deployed the Galileo interplanetary probe bound for Jupiter in 1989

-Deployed the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory in 1991

-flew the final servicing mission the Hubble Space Telescope in 2009

-Michael Massimino became the first person to use Twitter in space in May 2009 aboard Atlantis

Atlantis will be missed by me and many other space aficionados, as will the entire Space Shuttle program. I leave you with a picture from Atlantis’ final launch, the last Space Shuttle launch ever, from July 8.

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