At NASA Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility, a Gulfstream III jet is preparing to take off with space shuttle Atlantis' four STS-135 astronauts and their families for the return trip home to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Space shuttle Atlantis and its crew touched down on Kennedy's Shuttle Landing Facility runway 5:57 a.m., July 21, 2011, bringing a close to 30 years of space shuttle missions. Securing the space shuttle fleet's place in history, Atlantis marked the 26th nighttime landing of the Space Shuttle Program and the 78th landing at Kennedy. Atlantis and its crew delivered to the International Space Station the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with more than 9,400 pounds of spare parts, equipment and supplies that will sustain station operations for the next year. STS-135 was the 33rd and final flight for Atlantis and the final mission of the Space Shuttle Program. For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/shuttlemissions/sts135/index.html. Photo credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett