http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/309356

Atlantis landing ends NASA Space Shuttle Program

Posted Jul 21, 2011 by KJ Mullins
The end of an era took place quietly this morning as Atlantis and its crew, Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, Mission Specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim landed safely this morning at 5:57 a.m. at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
At 5:57 a.m. EDT on July 21  2011  space shuttle Atlantis landed for the final time at NASA s Kenned...
At 5:57 a.m. EDT on July 21, 2011, 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 the STS-135 mission and final flight for the Space Shuttle Program.
NASA
"The brave astronauts of STS-135 are emblematic of the shuttle program -- skilled professionals from diverse backgrounds who propelled America to continued leadership in space with the shuttle's many successes," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "This final shuttle flight marks the end of an era, but today, we recommit ourselves to continuing human spaceflight and taking the necessary- and difficult - steps to ensure America's leadership in human spaceflight for years to come."
Since the first shuttle was launched on April 12, 1981, 355 astronauts have flown on the 852 missions. The five shuttles that were with the program was the scene of more than 2,000 experiments studying Earth, astronomy, biological and materials sciences.
Final Day of Docked Operations
This view of space shuttle Atlantis and its Raffaello multi-purpose l...
Final Day of Docked Operations This view of space shuttle Atlantis and its Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module was taken by a crew member aboard the space station on the final day of joint activities between the crew members for the STS-135 and Expedition 28 missions.
NASA
The shuttles docked at two space stations during their missions, the Russian Mir and the International Space Station. The last mission saw the delivery of 2,677 pounds of food to the station along with spare parts and other supplies for the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module. The crew came home with over 2 tonnes of unneeded material from the station.
This morning the final crew reflected on their mission.
"Although we got to take the ride," said Commander Chris Ferguson on behalf of his crew, " 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."
STS-135 Commander Chris Ferguson  signs an insignia decal for his mission in the Quest airlock of th...
STS-135 Commander Chris Ferguson, signs an insignia decal for his mission in the Quest airlock of the International Space Station. The shuttle insignia is mounted next to that of the Expedition 28.
NASA
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden today issued this statement about the final landing of the Space Shuttle Program:
"Children who dream of being astronauts today may not fly on the space shuttle . . . but, one day, they may walk on Mars. The future belongs to us. And just like those who came before us, we have an obligation to set an ambitious course and take an inspired nation along for the journey.
I'm ready to get on with the next big challenge."
On Friday the astronauts will be part of a welcome home ceremony in Houston. The public is invited to attend the 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.
Space shuttle Atlantis  bright-white  iconic frame illuminates the darkness as it touches down on th...
Space shuttle Atlantis' bright-white, iconic frame illuminates the darkness as it touches down on the Shuttle Landing Facility's Runway 15 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the final time. Securing the space shuttle fleet's place in history, Atlantis marked the 26th nighttime landing of NASA's Space Shuttle Program and the 78th landing at Kennedy. Main gear touchdown was at 5:57:00 a.m. EDT, followed by nose gear touchdown at 5:57:20 a.m., and wheelstop at 5:57:54 a.m. On board are S
NASA