Space shuttle Atlantis and its crew of seven astronauts ended an 11-day journey of nearly 4.5 million miles with a Perfect landing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
The mission, designated STS-129, included three spacewalks and the installation of two platforms to the International Space Station's truss, or backbone. The platforms hold large spare parts to sustain station operations after the shuttles are retired. The shuttle crew delivered about 30,000 pounds of replacement parts for systems that provide power to the station, keep it from overheating, and maintain a proper orientation in space.
The Space Shuttle Atlantis (Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV‑104) was a Space Shuttle orbiter belonging to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the spaceflight and space exploration agency of the United States. 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 it was delivered to the John F. Kennedy Space Center in eastern Florida in April 1985. Atlantis was the only orbiter which lacked the ability to draw power from the International Space Station while docked there; it had to continue to provide its own power through fuel cells.
The last mission of Atlantis was STS-135, the last flight of the Shuttle program. This final flight, authorized in October 2010, brought additional supplies to the International Space Station and took advantage of the processing performed for the Launch on Need mission, which would only have been flown if Endeavour's STS-134 crew required rescue. Atlantis launched for the last time on 8 July 2011 at 16:29 UTC, landing at the John F. Kennedy Space Center on 21 July 2011 at 09:57 UTC.
By the end of its final mission, Atlantis had orbited the Earth 4,848 times, traveling nearly 126,000,000 mi (203,000,000 km) or more than 525 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.
Atlantis was named after RV Atlantis, a two-masted sailing ship that operated as the primary research vessel for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution from 1930 to 1966
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