Shuttle Atlantis Embarks on Final Voyage

Craft scheduled to reach International Space Station Sunday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 14, 2010 1:35 PM CDT
Shuttle Atlantis Embarks on Final Voyage
Space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., May 14, 2010. On a 12-day mission, Atlantis will deliver a Russian-built storage and docking module to the ISS.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Space shuttle Atlantis is on its way to orbit for the last time. Atlantis and an experienced crew of six blasted off this afternoon from the Kennedy Space Center. More than 40,000 guests gathered at the Florida launch site, all of them eager to catch one of the few remaining shuttle flights. NASA said it was the biggest launch-day crowd in years.

The shuttle is bound for the International Space Station. It should reach the orbiting complex Sunday. Atlantis is carrying a full shipment of space station gear. Only two shuttle flights remain after this one. Discovery is due to fly in September, followed by Endeavour in November. The fleet is being retired so NASA can pursue more ambitious exploration. This is the 32nd flight for Atlantis. (More Atlantis stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.