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Thursday, July 21, 2011

VIDEO CLIP: Space Shuttle Atlantis Makes Historic Final Landing, Ends 30-Year Program!
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By NED POTTER (@NedPotterABC) / July 21, 2011.

PHOTO: Space Shuttle Atlantis lands at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., July 21, 2011.
Shuttle Atlantis Landing: End of an Era.

For one last time, the Space Shuttle Atlantis made a long, steep turn, lined up with the runway and landed in the half-light before dawn at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"After serving the world for 30 years, the space shuttle has found its place in history," said Christopher Ferguson, the astronaut who commanded Atlantis' final mission, by radio to mission control. "Wheels stop." The ship came to rest at 5:58 a.m. EDT, after a flight of 12 days, 18 hours, 28 minutes and 55 seconds.

And that was that.

After 135 flights in 30 years, the space shuttles are now history. NASA said before landing that with Atlantis' flight over, the five shuttle orbiters would together have traveled 537,114,016 miles in orbit. Three hundred and thirty-five astronauts have flown on them; 14 died when the shuttles Columbia and Challenger were lost.

Atlantis alone made 33 flights, carried 191 space fliers, spent 307 days in orbit, circled Earth 4,848 times and put 125,935,769 miles on its odometer.

Full Coverage: End of an Era

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