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Khamis, 28 Julai 2011

SPACE SHUTTLE ERA ENDS WITH ATLANTIS


Space shuttle Atlantis astronauts (right to left) Commander Chris Ferguson, Rex Walheim, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialist Sandra Magnus are seen boarding their transport on July 8, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center.

When Atlantis touched down yesterday at Cape Canaveral, Fla., the high-flying era of the space shuttles came down to earth as well. After 30 years, the shuttle program, which began on April 12, 1981 with Colombia, has ended with the 135th mission. Atlantis delivered the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module packed with supplies and spare parts to the International Space Station, and retrieved a failed pump unit and other items for the return trip. Atlantis went aloft 33 times, logging over 125 million miles. The last shuttle will become a museum exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center.


The space shuttle Atlantis flies over the Bahamas prior to a perfect docking with the International Space Station on July 10, 2011. Part of a Russian Progress spacecraft docked to the station is in the foreground.

ATK engineers take a look at the company's final booster motor for the space shuttle program in Box Elder County, Utah. For more than 30 years, NASA's space shuttle program has been a cornerstone of Utah's economy. That era ended with Atlantis, which ends the shuttle program. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that it stops the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars that came to Utah from NASA for tests and construction of the solid-fuel rocket booster motors that launch the spacecraft into orbit. Gone, too, are thousands of jobs from Alliant Tech Systems, known as ATK, and other northern Utah companies that supported the industry.

The STS-135 crew practices rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station while being observed in the Systems Engineering Simulator at the Johnson Space Center on June 28, 2011 in Houston.

The rotating service structure rolls away from space shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla. on July 7, 2011.

The space shuttle Atlantis stands shortly after the rotating service structure was rolled back at launch pad 39A at the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida July 7, 2011.

Spectators stake out spots early as they wait for the launch of space shuttle Atlantis at Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral, Florida on July 8, 2011.

Spectators gather near the Visitors Center at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to watch the space shuttle Atlantis take off July 8, 2011.

Warren Hinson, a NASA Emergency Response Team member, keeps an eye out while flying near the Vehicle Assembly Building prior to the launch of space shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center Friday on July 8, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center on July 8, 2011, in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Space shuttle Atlantis blasts off from launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center on July 8, 2011.

Atlantis and its four astronauts blasted off practically on schedule at 11:29 a.m., July 8, 2011.

NASA managers watch from Firing Room Four of the Launch Control Center as the space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from Launch Pad 39A on July 8, 2011.

Ron Stillman (left) and Tara Reece of Cocoa Beach, Fla. watch from their suf boards as the space shuttle Atlantis lifts off in Cocoa Beach, Fla. on July 8, 2011

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden hugs Launch Director Michael Leinbach (right) in the Launch Control Center shortly after the space shuttle Atlantis launched on July 8, 2011.

The external fuel tank floats away from Atlantis after a successful launch on July 8, 2011 in space.

The nose of Atlantis in Earth orbit is seen during a Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver, or back flip to enable space station crew members to take high resolution digital pictures of the shuttle's heat shield before docking for the last time with the International Space Station on July 10, 2011.

The International Space Station and Atlantis (right) orbit Earth on July 12, 2011. A Russian Soyuz craft is docked on the far left.

Astronaut Ron Garan checks out his pistol grip tool in the International Space Station's Quest airlock prior to his July 12 spacewalk on July 12, 2011.

Atlantis and International Space Station astronauts gather for one of the final meals shared between shuttle and station crews aboard the orbiting laboratory on July 14, 2011.

Atlantis Pilot Doug Hurley moves supplies and equipment in the Leonardo Permanent Multipurpose Module of the International Space Station on July 11, 2011.

Astronaut Rex Walheim works on the mid-deck of Atlantis on July 09, 2011.

Atlantis Commander Chris Ferguson (left) and Pilot Doug Hurley pause on the flight deck of the orbiter on July 9, 2011.

Astronaut Ronald Garan leaves the Quest airlock on the International Space Station during a planned six-and-a-half-hour spacewalk along with astronaut Mike Fossum on July 12, 2011. This is the 160th spacewalk devoted to station assembly and maintenance since construction began in 1998.

Astronaut Mike Fossum carries a Robotics Refueling Mission payload from Atlantis' cargo bay to a platform used by the space station's famous robot DEXTRE. Above on the far left, DEXTRE prepares to help move a failed space pump back to Atlantis. Visible behind the astronaut is the space station's Kibo Experimental Module.

Spacewalker Ron Garan rides on the International Space Station's robotic arm with Earth below as he transfers a failed pump module to the cargo bay of space shuttle Atlantis during the final spacewalk on July 12, 2011.

Earth's airglow is seen as a thin line above Earth's horizon behind the shuttle and the International Space Station. The Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module, full of items to be returned to Earth, is seen in the aft cargo bay.

Astronaut Sandy Magnus gets one last visit to the Cupola on board the International Space Station before the two spacecraft undocked on July 18, 2011.

Atlantis lands on July 21, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, ending its 13-day mission.

Atlantis lands on July 21, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The space shuttle Atlantis lands in the pre-dawn hours on July 21, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The shuttle and its four-member crew landed safely at 5:56 am.

Atlantis lands at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla. on July 21, 2011.

Commander Chris Ferguson walks under Atlantis after landing at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla. on July 21, 2011.

Atlantis is towed into its hangar at the Orbiter Processing Facility July 21, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center in Florida after it landed several hours earlier, ending its 13-day mission and final flight for the space shuttle program.

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