Its a big day in Florida as 30 years of space travel come to an end with the landing of the Atlantis Space Shuttle.
As Atlantis touched down at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, 30 years of space travel came to a bittersweet end. The final mission brought spare parts, experiments and essential equipment to the International Space Station. Now NASA focus on exploring space without the use of space shuttles.
The Atlantis crew landed at the Space Center just before 6:00AM Eastern time ending a 13 day journey which was the 133rd space landing. Atlantis ends it’s space travel life after over 200 orbits around Earth and traveling over 5 million miles. It was a bittersweet day as we said goodbye to the NASA space shuttle fleet as the 4 remaining shuttles will now be retired
“Although we got to take the ride, we sure hope that everybody who has ever worked on, or touched, or looked at, or envied or admired a space shuttle was able to take just a little part of the journey with us” said Atlantis Commander Chris Ferguson after this morning’s landing.
With all space shuttle travel combined the NASA fleet has traveled over 520 Million miles according to NASA, which they say is enough milage to go to Jupiter. The fleet has also hosted more then 2,000 experiments in the fields of Earth, astronomy,biological and material sciences.
The NASA Space Shuttle program begain with STS-1 on April 12, 1981 and since then 355 individuals from 16 countries have flown into space 852 times. STS-135 was the 135th and final shuttle flight, Atlantis’ 33rd flight and the 37th shuttle mission dedicated to station assembly and maintenance.
Now with the 30 year old space shuttle mission now over NASA looks to the future which includes plans for a $800 million initiative to send a robotic spacecraft to astroid by 2016 to collect more data about how our universe came to be.