The Space Shuttle orbiter Atlantis, framed by the California mountains, as it rides on the back of one of NASA's Boeing 747 w:Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) en route from California to the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, after a ten month refurbishment.
Atlantis embarked on its 33rd and final mission, also the final mission of a space shuttle, STS-135, on 8 July 2011. STS-134 by Endeavour was expected to be the final flight before STS-135 was authorized in October 2010. STS-135 took advantage of the processing for the STS-335 Launch On Needmission that would have been necessary if STS-134's crew became stranded in orbit.Atlantis landed for the final time at the Kennedy Space Center on 21 July 2011.
By the end of its final mission, Atlantis had orbited the Earth a total of 4,848 times, traveling nearly 126,000,000 mi (203,000,000 km) or more than 525 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.
Atlantis is named after RV Atlantis, a two-masted sailing ship that operated as the primary research vessel for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution from 1930 to 1966.
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