Friday, July 8, 2011 – The space shuttle Atlantis successfully blasted off moments ago from Cape Canaveral on NASA’s historic and final space shuttle mission, with four astronauts aboard. The shuttle is bound for the International Space Station, making one final supply run.
Atlantis is the 135th space shuttle launch for NASA, and, for this mission, four astronauts are riding Atlantis to orbit. The Atlantis astronauts include mission specialist Sandra Magnus, pilot Doug Hurley, commander Chris Ferguson and mission specialist Rex Walhelm.
The historic liftoff occurred, 30 years and three months after the very first shuttle flight.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators jammed Cape Canaveral and surrounding towns for the farewell. Kennedy Space Center itself was packed with shuttle workers, astronauts and 45,000 invited guests, the maximum allowed.
Bottom line: NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis successfully blasted from Cape Canaveral on Friday, July 8, 2011. It is NASA’s final space shuttle mission. Four astronauts are aboard Atlantis. The shuttle is bound for the International Space Station, making one last supply run.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.