Thu, 21 Jul 2011 05:18:04 -0500
At 5:57 a.m. EDT, space shuttle Atlantis landed for the final time at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center after 200 orbits around Earth and a journey of 5,284,862 miles on STS-135. It was the 25th night landing, the 78th landing at Kennedy and the133rd landing in shuttle history. Atlantis’ main gear touched down at 5:57:00 a.m. followed by the nose gear at 5:57:20 and wheels stop at 5:57:54 a.m. At wheels stop, the mission elapsed time was 12 days, 18 hours, 28 minutes and 50 seconds. The STS-135 crew consisted of Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, Mission Specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim. They delivered more than 9,400 pounds of spare parts, spare equipment and other supplies in the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module - including 2,677 pounds of food - that will sustain space station operations for the next year. The 21-foot long, 15-foot diameter Raffaello brought back nearly 5,700 pounds of unneeded materials from the station. A post-landing news conference at Kennedy is planned for 10 a.m. on NASA TV and http://www.nasa.gov/ntv. The participants will be Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations, Bob Cabana, Kennedy center director, Mike Moses, space shuttle launch integration manager, and Mike Leinbach, space shuttle launch director. Since STS-1 launched on April 12, 1981, 355 individuals from 16 countries flew 852 times aboard the shuttle. The five shuttles traveled more than 542 million miles and hosted more than 2,000 experiments in the fields of Earth, astronomy, biological and materials sciences. The shuttles docked with two space stations, the Russian Mir and the International Space Station. Shuttles deployed 180 payloads, including satellites, returned 52 from space and retrieved, repaired and redeployed seven spacecraft. STS-135 was the 33rd and final flight for Atlantis, which spent 307 days in space, orbited Earth 4,848 times and traveled 125,935,769 miles. A welcome home ceremony for the astronauts will be held Friday, July 22, in Houston. The public is invited to attend the 4 p.m. CDT event at NASA's Hangar 990 at Ellington Field. Gates to Ellington Field will open at 3:30 p.m. The ceremony will be broadcast live on NASA Television.
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