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July 8 Marks Final Space Shuttle Launch

Atlantis
Space shuttle Atlantis is at the launching pad and being readied to make the last launch of the space shuttle program on Friday, July 8.

June 30, 2011 – NASA made it official Tuesday: Atlantis will make the space shuttle program’s final launch at 11:26 a.m. EDT on Friday, July 8, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The planned 12-day STS-135 mission to the International Space Station will be commanded by Chris Ferguson and three crewmates: pilot Doug Hurley and mission specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. They’ll deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module filled with supplies and spare parts to sustain space station operations after the shuttles are retired, NASA said.

The mission also will fly the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), an experiment to demonstrate and test the tools, technologies, and techniques needed to robotically refuel satellites in space - even satellites not designed to be serviced. The crew also will return a recently failed ammonia pump to Earth so engineers can improve designs for future spacecraft.

The crew is scheduled to arrive at Kennedy on Monday, July 4, for final launch preparations. This will be Atlantis’ 33rd flight and the 37th shuttle mission to the ISS. Learn more about the mission here. Learn more about the ISS here.

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