Atlantis ends its final voyage and an era in space

Updated: July 21, 2011 21:36 IST

The last space shuttle flight rolled to a stop just before 6 a.m. on Thursday, closing an era of the US space program.

It was the 19th night landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to end the 135th space shuttle mission. For Atlantis, the final tally of its 26-year career is 33 missions, accumulating just short of 126 million miles during 307 days in space, circumnavigating the Earth 4,848 times.

Atlantis ends its final voyage and an era in space
The last space shuttle flight rolled to a stop just before 6 a.m. on Thursday, closing an era of the US space program.

It was the 19th night landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to end the 135th space shuttle mission. For Atlantis, the final tally of its 26-year career is 33 missions, accumulating just short of 126 million miles during 307 days in space, circumnavigating the Earth 4,848 times. (Photo credit: The New York Times)
Atlantis ends its final voyage and an era in space
In the clear, windless predawn, sonic booms announced the shuttle's arrival. It made a wide turn in preparation for the approach for its final landing. (Photo credit: Associated Press)
Atlantis ends its final voyage and an era in space
The shuttle Atlantis landed after a 13-day mission to bring supplies and parts to the International Space Station. (Photo credit: Agence France-Presse)
Atlantis ends its final voyage and an era in space
The shuttle, which travels backward while in orbit, flipped around to a nose-first position for the landing.(Photo credit: The New York Times)
Atlantis ends its final voyage and an era in space
Sean Carter, right, a NASA employee, watched the landing with his son, Jackson, his wife, Jean, left, and his daughter, Addison, at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. (Photo credit: Associated Press)
Atlantis ends its final voyage and an era in space
Jeremy Rea and Shelley Stortz, who work at Johnson Space Center, joined the crowd to watch the landing. (Photo credit: Associated Press)
Atlantis ends its final voyage and an era in space
The shuttle commander Chris Ferguson, in orange hat, shook hands with the pilot Doug Hurley after landing on Thursday. (Photo credit: The New York Times)

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