08.07.

The last launch of the space shuttle (2011)

The last launch of the space shuttle (2011)

On July 8, 2011, the last launch of the space shuttle in its history was carried out. It was the STS-135 mission, for which the Atlantis shuttle was used. That spacecraft was the penultimate in a series of six space shuttles built for NASA. Newer than Atlantis was only the space shuttle Endeavor, which was built in 1991 as a replacement for the tragically lost Challenger.

Atlantis has been in use since 1985, which means that it was more than a quarter of a century old on that last flight. STS-135 was his 33rd mission in a row. More space missions than Atlantis were made only by the space shuttle Discovery (39).

Interestingly, the two catastrophes that experienced disasters (Challanger and Columbia) were also the first two that were made.

Shuttle Atlantis has made the most connections with space stations of all shuttles (as many as 19). On the final mission (STS-135) there were only four astronauts in it: Christopher Ferguson, Douglas Hurley, Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim. It was numerically the smallest crew in the past more than 18 years. The STS-135 mission lasted 8 days, 15 hours and 21 minutes, and the landing was made on July 21, 2011.

The last mission of the Atlantis shuttle brought to an end the thirty-year American space shuttle program. They are planned to be replaced by Orion-type spacecraft, but that is unlikely to happen before 2023. Meanwhile, U.S. astronauts will use Russian Soyuz spacecraft to reach the International Space Station (ISS).

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