STS-135 Launch and Landing

    Mission: STS-135
    Space Shuttle: Atlantis
    Primary Payload: Raffaello Multi-purpose Logistics Module
    Launch Date: July 8. 2011
    Launch Time: 11:29 a.m. EDT
    Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A
    Landing Date: July 21, 2011
    Landing Time: 5:57 a.m. EDT
    Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility
    Mission Duration: 13 days
    Inclination/Altitude: 51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles

    Atlantis and Crew Write Final Chapter in Space Shuttle History

    Space shuttle Atlantis launches.

    Image above: Riding a plume of fire, space shuttle Atlantis heads into the cloud-laden sky over Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Image credit: NASA/Tony Gray and Tom Farrar
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    Space shuttle Atlantis lands.

    Image above: Space shuttle Atlantis' drag chute slows the shuttle as it lands on Runway 15 at the Shuttle Landing Facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Image credit: NASA/Kenny Allen
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    It was a hot July day on Florida's Space Coast as nearly a million spectators gathered along the beaches, rivers and causeways to watch history in the making. Despite a gloomy prelaunch weather forecast on July 8, 2011, space shuttle Atlantis thundered off Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 11:29 a.m. EDT. The liftoff marked the last time a space shuttle would pierce the sky after 30 years of flights.

    Heading toward the International Space Station, aboard Atlantis was a team of experienced astronauts led by Commander Chris Ferguson. Pilot Doug Hurley and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim rounded out the STS-135 crew.

    The 13-day mission carried 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. The supplies were delivered to 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.

    With the mission accomplished, Atlantis and crew departed the orbiting laboratory and headed home early on July 21, setting their sites on a 5:57 a.m. touch down in Florida on Shuttle Landing Facility Runway 15. The end of their journey brought to a close the space shuttle era.

    "Although we got to take the ride," said Commander Chris Ferguson after landing, "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."

    Additional Resources
    › STS-135 Mission Updates Archive
    › Atlantis Fact Sheet (300KB PDF)
    › Space Shuttle Era Fact Sheet (236 KB PDF)
    › Orbiter Status Updates

Shuttle Features

Discovery and Atlantis Permanently Powered Down

The vehicle powered sign is turned off after the final power down of space shuttle Discovery

The "vehicle powered" light is turned off for the last time as two shuttle orbiters' flight decks go dark.

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Shuttle Fleet Left Mark in Space, Hearts

Atlantis approaches the International Space Station during STS-112 rendezvous and docking operations

The space shuttle accomplished tremendous technological goals during 30 years of flying and spanned societal boundaries along the way.

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Tribute Plaque Still Holds Meaning for Workers

The tribute plaque astronauts left on Atlantis.

A plastic plaque engraved with a tribute to the Space Shuttle work force highlights the effort that went into program for 30 years.

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Construction Begins on Atlantis' Permanent Home

Ground is broken for construction on new home for space shuttle Atlantis

A groundbreaking ceremony officially launched construction of space shuttle Atlantis' future home at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

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STS-135 Mission Stats

    Mission Elapsed Time:
    12 days, 18 hours, 28 minutes, 50 seconds

    Official Landing Times
    Main gear touchdown:
    5:57:00 a.m. EDT
    Nose gear touchdown:
    5:57:20 a.m. EDT
    Wheels stop:
    5:57:54 a.m. EDT

    Total miles:
    more than 5.2 million

    › More STS-135 by the Numbers

Launch and Landing Coverage

Mission Extras