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T-Minus 10 Seconds [20/21]

STS-135 Atlantis (OV-104)
Primary Payload: ULF7 / MPLM (Raffaello)
Launch Date: July 8
Launch Time: 11:29:04 a.m. EDT
Mission Duration: 13 days
Inclination/Altitude: 51.6°/122nm

[RTF-1]-STS-114 Discovery • [RTF-2]-STS-121 Discovery
[01]-STS-115 Atlantis • [02]-STS-116 Discovery • [03]-STS-117 Atlantis
[04]-STS-118 Endeavour • [05]-STS-120 Discovery • [06]-STS-122 Atlantis
[07]-STS-123 Endeavour • [08]-STS-124 Discovery • [09]-STS-126 Endeavour
[10]-STS-119 Discovery • [11]-STS-125 Atlantis • [12]-STS-127 Endeavour
[13]-STS-128 Discovery • [14]-STS-129 Atlantis • [15]-STS-130 Endeavour
[16]-STS-131 Discovery • [17]-STS-132 Atlantis • [18]-STS-133 Discovery
[19]-STS-134 Endeavour • [20]-STS-135 Atlantis • [21]-STS-136

NASA managers approve STS-135 mission planning for June 28, 2011 launch :: August 20th, 2010 :: Atlantis has gained one final mission, flying STS-135 to the International Space Station (ISS), with a launch date targeting June 28, 2011. Pending required funding allocation, Atlantis will carry a packed Multi-purpose Logistics Module (MPLM) and a Lightweight Multi-Purpose Carrier (LMC), on a 11+1+2 mission with a four person crew. Atlantis has been – and will technically remain as – processing as the STS-335 LON (Launch On Need) mission in support of Endeavour’s STS-134 mission, officially manifested as the final mission for the Space Shuttle Program (SSP).

NASA Assigns Crew for Final Launch on Need Shuttle Mission :: Sept. 14, 2010 :: WASHINGTON -- NASA announced the four astronauts who will make up the crew of STS-335, the rescue mission that would fly only if needed to bring home the members of space shuttle Endeavour's STS-134 mission, currently the final scheduled shuttle flight. Chris Ferguson (1998/17:STS-115/STS-126), a retired U.S. Navy captain and veteran of two previous shuttle missions, would command the flight. Astronaut and U.S. Marine Col. Doug Hurley (2000/18:STS-127) would serve as pilot, and astronauts Sandy Magnus (1996/16:STS-112/Expedition 18) and retired U.S. Air Force Col. Rex Walheim (1996/16:STS-110/STS-122) would be the mission specialists.

STS-135: Extending shuttle by one mission :: January 11, 2011 :: Regarding the space station program's desire to "move some things," as referenced by Gerstenmaier, Suffredini elaborated: We would prefer to have 135, if we were to get it, as late in the fiscal year as we can. Just from a spacing perspective and to make sure we have as many of the large ORUs [orbital replacement units] onboard as we can get. Some of them are being manufactured. We've picked up the pace of manufacturing some of our larger ORUs in order to try to make that launch date. So our preference has been towards the end of the fiscal year. We've been kind of chatting about a late August timeframe, if everyone else can support that. Editor's note: On Jan. 20, NASA baselined STS-135, beginning preparations to fly Atlantis on the 135th and final space shuttle flight. [+][+][+][+][+][+][+][+][+][+]

Space Shuttle Program baselines STS-135 :: Thu, 20 Jan 2011 10:20:22 AM PST :: On Thursday, the Space Shuttle Program baselined the STS-135 mission for a target launch date of June 28. It is NASA’s intent to fly the mission with orbiter Atlantis carrying the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module to deliver supplies, logistics and spare parts to the International Space Station. The mission also will fly a system to investigate the potential for robotically refueling existing spacecraft and return a failed ammonia pump module to help NASA better understand the failure mechanism and improve pump designs for future systems. In late December, the agency’s Space Operations Mission Directorate requested the shuttle and International Space Station programs take the necessary steps to maintain the capability to fly Atlantis on the STS-135 mission. The Authorization Act of 2010 directs NASA to conduct the mission, and baselining the flight enables the program to begin preparations for the mission with a target launch date of June 28. The mission would be the 135th and final space shuttle flight. Prepping for the next shuttle mission, STS-133, continues in the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida where technicians are making good progress in their work to modify the stringers on Discovery's external fuel tank. Discovery and its six astronauts are targeted to launch on the STS-133 mission to the International Space Station on Feb. 24. Having been joined by their newest crew member, Steve Bowen, Discovery’s astronauts will review robotics procedures today and review spacewalk timelines at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Bowen, who flew into space on STS-132 in May 2010, will be the first astronaut to fly on consecutive missions.

Shuttle Atlantis Now Inside the Vehicle Assembly Building :: Tue, 17 May 2011 12:52:07 PM PDT :: Shuttle Atlantis now is in NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). After being parked between its hangar, Orbiter Processing Facility-1, and the VAB for about five hours to allow employees to take pictures and see it, technicians resumed Atlantis’ move, known as rollover, at 1:35 p.m. EDT. Atlantis was moved inside the VAB by 1:52 p.m. Tomorrow morning, Atlantis will be lifted and attached to its external fuel tank and two solid rocket boosters. Initial walkdowns of Launch Pad 39A haven't seen any significant damage following shuttle Endeavour's launch Monday. It expected to take about two weeks to clean up and prepare the pad for Atlantis. Tentatively, space shuttle Atlantis' move from the VAB to Launch Pad 39A is targeted for May 31 starting at 8 p.m.

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Atlantis to be Joined with Fuel Tank and Boosters :: Wed, 18 May 2011 05:55:50 AM PDT :: Shuttle Atlantis will be lifted and attached to its external fuel tank and two solid rocket boosters today. The spacecraft was moved from its hangar to the Vehicle Assembly Building yesterday. Initial walkdowns of Launch Pad 39A haven't revealed any significant damage following shuttle Endeavour's launch Monday. It's expected to take about two weeks to clean up and prepare the pad for Atlantis. Tentatively, space shuttle Atlantis' move from the VAB to Launch Pad 39A is targeted for May 31 starting at 8 p.m.

NASA Sets Launch Date And Media Credential Deadlines For Final Shuttle Flight :: May 20, 2011 :: WASHINGTON -- NASA's final space shuttle flight is targeted to launch July 8 at about 11:40 a.m. EDT from the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Four veteran astronauts will fly aboard shuttle Atlantis to deliver supplies and spare parts to the International Space Station. This date was targeted based on NASA's current planning. An official launch date will be announced following the June 28 Flight Readiness Review.

NASA's Atlantis Moves To Launch Pad May 31 For Final Shuttle Launch :: May 20, 2011 :: CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Atlantis will begin moving to its launch pad at 8 p.m. EDT on May 31, at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The six-hour rollout from Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building is a major milestone as Atlantis is prepared for the final shuttle launch targeted for July 8. Journalists are invited to cover the shuttle's 3.4-mile journey atop a giant crawler-transporter. Activities include an 8 p.m. photo opportunity, followed by a 9 p.m. interview availability with Atlantis Flow Director Angie Brewer. Media representatives must arrive at Kennedy's news center by 7:30 p.m. for the rollout photo opportunity. On June 1, NASA also will provide a sunrise photo opportunity at the launch pad following Atlantis' arrival. Reporters must arrive at the news center for transportation to the viewing area by 6 a.m.

NASA Announces Tweetup For Final Space Shuttle Launch :: May 20, 2011 :: WASHINGTON -- NASA will give 150 of its Twitter followers a front-row seat at the historic final space shuttle launch. The agency's fifth shuttle launch Tweetup is scheduled July 7-8 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Shuttle Atlantis is targeted to lift off from Kennedy on its mission to the International Space Station at about 11:40 a.m. EDT on July 8. The official launch date will be announced after a Flight Readiness Review meeting on June 28. Those selected to participate in the Tweetup will tour the center, view the shuttle launch and speak with NASA managers, astronauts, shuttle technicians and engineers from across the agency. "Inviting people to attend the last shuttle launch and share it with their friends, family and followers is one way NASA can enable more people to experience this historic event," said Stephanie Schierholz, social media manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "While the Space Shuttle Program is drawing to a close, the NASA Tweetup also will give our followers a broader view of the agency's diverse activities." Tweetup registration opens at noon on Wednesday, June 1, and closes at noon on June 2. NASA will randomly select the 150 participants. For more information about the Tweetup and to sign up, visit: NASA will broadcast a portion of the July 7 event at: NASA TV

U.S. Honor Flag Bound for Space :: 05.26.11 :: It's toured the country and the world to honor the dedication and sacrifice of Americans who have lost their lives serving as police officers, firefighters and military personnel. Now, the U.S. Honor Flag will pay tribute to astronauts who have died in the line of duty as it flies this summer aboard space shuttle Atlantis during the shuttle program's final mission. Begun as a tribute following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists' attacks, the flag serves as a traveling memorial to heroes who lost their lives while serving their communities and country. During a May 26 ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, the flag began its journey to space as James K. Loftus, director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, presented it to Bob Cabana, director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center. "The flag honors all the first responders, military and now astronauts who've paid the ultimate price in service to our country. I think it's a real privilege to take it aboard Atlantis and bring it home safe," said Cabana following the ceremony. With the visitor complex's Astronaut Memorial Mirror as a backdrop, a 100-member honor guard and bagpipe procession accompanied the flag, which Cabana handed over to veteran astronaut Jerry Ross in preparation for its flight aboard Atlantis. The handoff was followed by a moment of silence at the memorial, which bears the names of astronauts who have died in the exploration of space. The flag's tour is sponsored by the non-profit Honor Network, but began with one man and his flag, Chris Heisler. Shortly after the Sep. 11attacks, an American flag from the Texas House of Representatives was given to Heisler, who decided to take the flag to Ground Zero at the World Trade Center site. Along the way, he helped organize one of the longest police motorcades in the history of the United States. His flag flew over Ground Zero for two weeks, and the U.S. Honor Flag was born.

NASA'S Shuttle Atlantis At Launch Pad, Liftoff Practice Set :: June 01, 2011 :: CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- After safely reaching its launch pad at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, space shuttle Atlantis awaits the next major milestone for its upcoming STS-135 mission to the International Space Station, the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program. The mission with four veteran astronauts is targeted to launch July 8. Atlantis arrived at the pad early Wednesday morning on top of a giant crawler-transporter. The crawler-transporter left Kennedy's Vehicle Assembly Building at 8:42 p.m. EDT Tuesday, May 31, and travelled less than 1 mph during the 3.4-mile journey. The shuttle was secured on the launch pad at 3:29 a.m. Wednesday. Reporters are invited to cover a launch dress rehearsal, known as the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT), scheduled at Kennedy from June 20 to 23. The TCDT provides Atlantis' astronauts and ground crews with an opportunity to participate in various simulated countdown activities, including equipment familiarization and emergency training. During the TCDT, media will have the opportunity to tour shuttle Discovery and interview experts from inside the spacecraft on June 21. Discovery currently is being decommissioned and prepared for display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. The following media events are associated with the TCDT. All times are Eastern Daylight Time.  • June 20: STS-135 crew arrival: The astronauts will arrive at approximately 4:45 p.m. at the Shuttle Landing Facility and make a statement. NASA Television will broadcast the arrival live.  • June 21: Discovery Media Day: Interview and photo opportunities will be held throughout the day in Orbiter Processing Facility-2. Shuttle experts will be available for interviews from Discovery's crew compartment. Spaces are limited. To sign up for this opportunity, contact Candrea Thomas at  • June 22: STS-135 crew media availability: The crew will take media questions at Launch Pad 39A at 8:40 a.m. NASA TV will carry the session live.  • June 23: STS-135 crew walkout photo opportunity: The astronauts will depart from the Operations and Checkout Building at 7:45 a.m. in their launch entry suits in preparation for the countdown demonstration test at the launch pad. The walkout will be part of the NASA TV Video File, but not covered live. During the 12-day flight, Atlantis and its crew will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module filled with supplies and spare parts to sustain station operations once NASA's shuttle fleet is retired.

Atop the Mobile Launch Platform

Atlantis Begins Final Shuttle Mission :: Fri, 08 Jul 2011 08:59:41 AM PDT :: Atlantis and its four astronauts left Earth for the final space shuttle mission, which will cap off an amazing 30-year program of exploration, which launched great observatories, built an International Space Station, and taught us more about how humans can live and work in space. With the International Space Station flying 220 miles high and east of Christchurch, New Zealand, Atlantis left Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11:29 a.m. EDT. There was a slight delay at T-31 seconds while retraction of the Gaseous Oxygen Vent Arm, or "Beanie Cap," was verified. Atlantis will dock with the space station on Sunday. The STS-135 post-launch news conference will begin at 1:10 p.m. EDT from NAS's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Participating will be NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier, Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, Space Shuttle Program Launch Integration Manager and chairman of the pre-mission Mission Management Team Mike Moses, and Shuttle Launch Director Mike Leinbach. » STS-135 Atlantis Post-Launch News Conference

STS-135 MCC Status Report #01 :: 07.08.11 :: HOUSTON – With a cargo carrier packed with supplies and equipment, Atlantis launched Friday morning to the International Space Station on the final space shuttle mission. The shuttle with its crew of four lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center on its 12-day flight at 10:29 a.m. CDT. Aboard are the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module and the Robotic Refueling Mission experiment, which could help develop ways to refuel satellites in orbit. Nearly a million people came to the Kennedy area to see Atlantis lift off on a mission marking the end of the space shuttle era. The mission’s focus was to leave the station as well supplied as possible to begin its post-shuttle existence. Atlantis also is scheduled to return a failed ammonia pump to Earth for examination – a task no other spacecraft can do. Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim, are scheduled to rendezvous and dock with the station on Sunday. Raffaello is making its fourth trip to the station. On flight day 4 it will be lifted from the cargo bay and attached to the Harmony node. It will be unloaded there and subsequently loaded with station discards before it is returned to the cargo bay on flight day 10 for return to Earth. The Robotic Refueling Mission experiment will be installed during the only spacewalk, by station crew members, while Atlantis is docked there. The experiment will test concepts, techniques and tools for robotically refueling satellites in orbit. The test will use the station’s robotic capabilities, the first test in space of ways to refuel satellites, including those not designed for such servicing. Aboard the station waiting to welcome Atlantis and its crew are Expedition 28 Commander Andrey Borisenko and Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev, Ron Garan, Sergei Volkov, Mike Fossum and Satoshi Furukawa. STS-135 is the 135th shuttle flight, the 33rd flight for Atlantis and the 37th shuttle mission dedicated to station assembly and maintenance. The next shuttle status report will be issued after crew wakeup or earlier if warranted. The crew is scheduled to awaken just before 3 a.m. Saturday. » STS-135 MCC Status Report Archive

 • Launching Our Dreams: A Shuttle Retrospective • 
We see its familiar, iconic delta shape all around us.
Even in silhouette, we instantly know what it is — the Space Shuttle.
Versatile, reusable, revolutionary.
The first and only spacecraft of its kind.

Statement by the President on the Launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis :: The White House · Office of the Press Secretary · July 08, 2011 :: Today, Americans across the country watched with pride as four of our fellow citizens blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in the Space Shuttle Atlantis, and America reached for the heavens once more. Behind Atlantis and her crew of brave astronauts stand thousands of dedicated workers who have poured their hearts and souls into America’s Space Shuttle program over the past three decades. To them and all of NASA’s incredible workforce, I want to express my sincere gratitude. You helped our country lead the space age, and you continue to inspire us each day. Today’s launch may mark the final flight of the Space Shuttle, but it propels us into the next era of our never-ending adventure to push the very frontiers of exploration and discovery in space. We’ll drive new advances in science and technology. We’ll enhance knowledge, education, innovation, and economic growth. And I have tasked the men and women of NASA with an ambitious new mission: to break new boundaries in space exploration, ultimately sending Americans to Mars. I know they are up to the challenge – and I plan to be around to see it. Congratulations to Atlantis, her astronauts, and the people of America's space program on a picture-perfect launch, and good luck on the rest of your mission to the International Space Station, and for a safe return home. I know the American people share my pride at what we have accomplished as a nation, and my excitement about the next chapter of our preeminence in space.

President Barack Obama watches the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis
on a television monitor in the Outer Oval Office, July 8, 2011.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Tags: atlantis, honor flag, nasa, sts-135

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