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Friday, July 8, 2011

SPACE SHUTTLE'S LAST VOYAGE: Shuttle Atlantis reaches orbit for final time!

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Posted 42m ago

By Mark DeCotis, Florida Today / 


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Thirty years and 135 missions after its debut, NASA launched a space shuttle for the final time on Friday as Atlantis streaked into orbit from Kennedy Space Center.

Atlantis and its four-person crew are embarking on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.
The on-time liftoff at 11:26 a.m. thrilled a crowd of an estimated 1 million people who packed viewing sites along the Florida coast for one last look at a spaceship that captured the imagination and attention of fans around the world.

"And Fergie, for the final time … good luck, Godspeed and have a little fun up there," Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach radioed up to Atlantis Commander Chris Ferguson, giving him the "go" for launch.

The orbiter roared off the pad, leaving behind a plume that hung majestically in the air. The crowds at the KSC press site cheered.

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