Mission: STS-135 carried the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module to deliver supplies, logistics and spare parts to the International Space Station
Primary Payload: 37th station flight (ULF7), multi-purpose logistics module (MPLM)
Space Shuttle: Atlantis
Launch Pad: 39A
Launch Weight: 266,090 pounds
Launched: July 8, 2011 at 11:29 a.m. EDT
Landing Site: Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Landing: July 21, 2011 at 5:57 a.m. EDT
Landing Weight: 226,375 pounds
Inclination/Altitude: 52.6 degrees/122 nautical miles
Mission Duration: 12 days, 18 hours, 28 minutes, 50 seconds
Miles Traveled: 5.2 million
Christopher Ferguson, Commander
Douglas Hurley, Pilot
Sandra Magnus, Mission Specialist
Rex Walheim, Mission Specialist
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.”