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STS-135 Info Orb Text
06.28.11
 

 
STS-135 mission patch
STS-135 Mission Patch

The STS-135 mission patch represents the last flight of the Space Shuttle Program. The shuttle sits within the red, white and blue NASA emblem. The Greek letter omega surrounds the emblem. Omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet, means "the end." The patch's border shows the names of the final four astronauts to fly on the shuttle.
 
STS-135 Crew
STS-135 Crew

After completing their mission training, the STS-135 crew celebrated in the cake-cutting ceremony. From the left are Mission Specialist Rex Walheim, Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialist Sandy Magnus.


 
Space shuttle Atlantis tribute with images of Atlantis and all of the mission patches for Atlantis flights
Good-bye Atlantis, Again!

Originally, Atlantis was scheduled to retire after STS-132 and only be used as a rescue flight if STS-134 needed help. NASA decided to add another flight for Atlantis. STS-135 will take the Raffaello module to the space station with a year's worth of supplies. It will stock the station with science equipment and spare parts.


 
Space shuttle Atlantis on the launch pad at night
Firsts and the Last

Atlantis is the last orbiter to fly, but it had many firsts. It flew its first flight on Oct. 3, 1985, on the STS-51-J mission. In June 1995, on STS-71, it was the first shuttle to dock to the Russian Mir space station. Atlantis was also the first shuttle to launch with a camera mounted to the external tank, which captured the shuttle's ascent to orbit on STS-112 in October 2002.


 
Commander Chris Ferguson inspects Atlantis' landing gear
The Commander

Chris Ferguson is the commander of STS-135. He was the pilot for STS-115 and the commander for STS-126. He and his crew will bring about 17,000 pounds of cargo to the station, including a year's worth of food, hygiene items and clothes. The crew also will deliver the Robotic Refueling Mission. Atlantis will bring unneeded cargo back to Earth.


 
Pilot Doug Hurley looks into a T-38 aircraft
The Pilot

Doug Hurley is the pilot for STS-135. He was also the pilot for STS-127, the mission that helped to complete the Japanese Kibo (KEE-bo) module on the station. Hurley has logged over 4,000 hours in more than 25 aircraft. As pilot on STS-135, he will assist Commander Ferguson with navigating the shuttle.


 
Astronaut Sandy Magnus hangs in a harness during training
Mission Specialist-1

Sandy Magnus is mission specialist-1. She is visiting her former home, the International Space Station. In November 2008, Magnus flew aboard STS-126. She stayed to live and work for 4.5 months on the station. She also flew on STS-112. On STS-135, Magnus will operate the robotic arms for spacewalks. She is the loadmaster in charge of loading and unloading the tons of cargo.


 
Astronaut Rex Walheim laughs with a trainer
Mission Specialist-2

Rex Walheim (WALL-hime) serves as mission specialist-2. STS-135 is his third spaceflight. He flew on STS-110 and STS-122. On STS-122, he performed three spacewalks or extravehicular activities, also known as EVAs. On this mission, he will be the IV, the intravehicular crew member. From inside the station, he will guide spacewalkers through their activities.


 
Space Shuttle Program Commemorative Patch
Millions and Millions

The five space shuttle orbiters have flown 537,114,016 miles. STS-135 will add more than 4 million miles to the total. When the mission is ready for launch, the space shuttle, external tank, twin solid rocket boosters, and the three space shuttle main engines contain about 2.5 million moving parts.


 
Robotic Refueling Mission payload box
Robotic Refueling Mission

STS-135 will deliver the Robotic Refueling Mission. The RRM will test and demonstrate the tools, technologies and techniques needed to robotically refuel satellites in space, even satellites not originally designed to be serviced. RRM is expected to reduce risks and lay the foundation for future robotic servicing missions in microgravity.


 
Cartoon of space shuttle with boy running beside it
Thank You, Space Shuttle!

The space shuttle has served U.S. science and research for 30 years. Since STS-1 launched in April 1981, through STS-135, 355 people from 16 countries will have flown 852 times on the shuttle. More than 2,000 experiments will have been conducted. The world owes a big thank you to the shuttle for all its hard work.


 
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