"Space shuttle Atlantis' bright-white, iconic frame illuminates the darkness as it touches down on the Shuttle Landing Facility's Runway 15 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the final time.
Securing the space shuttle fleet's place in history, Atlantis marked the 26th nighttime landing of NASA's Space Shuttle Program and the 78th landing at Kennedy. Main gear touchdown was at 5:57:00 a.m. EDT, followed by nose gear touchdown at 5:57:20 a.m., and wheelstop at 5:57:54 a.m.
On board are STS-135 Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandra Magnus and Rex Walheim. On the 37th shuttle mission to the International Space Station, STS-135 delivered more than 9,400 pounds of spare parts, equipment and supplies in the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module that will sustain station operations for the next year. STS-135 was the 33rd and final flight for Atlantis, which has spent 307 days in space, orbited Earth 4,848 times and traveled 125,935,769 miles."Source: NASA
When Atlantis landed today, an era came to an end. The United States has been flying the space shuttle for thirty years, and for at least as long, crews have been receiving wake-up calls from Mission Control at the beginning of each flight day. The calls often include music, dialogue, and personal messages for the crew.
Atlantis' final flight included some big names personally wishing the crew good morning ending with today's final poignant wake up call of "God Bless America."
Below is a roundup.
Flight day 9: Beyoncé Knowles' "Run the World (Girls)" followed by a message from the songstress.
Flight day 8: Sir Paul McCartney performs "Good day, Sunshine" followed by a personal message.
Flight day 7: Michael Stipe rouses the crew with personal greeting and a rendition of REM's "Man on the Moon."
Flight day 6: Elton John starts the day with a personal message and "Rocket Man."
Other wake-up calls for Atlantis' crew on her final flight can be found here.
The space shuttle Atlantis has made its final touchdown at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. The landing ends NASA's 30-year shuttle program that sent 355 astronauts into space. Atlantis embarked on its first flight on October 3, 1985, and ultimately flew 33 flights and covered 125 million miles. Here are some photos of the historic last mission.