Well kids, it’s finally over. This morning, just shy of 6 a.m. EDT, the space shuttle Atlantis came to a wheels stop at Kennedy Space Center, ending NASA’s Space Shuttle era and effectively capping America’s Human Spaceflight program--at least for the time being.
Atlantis’s final mission went as smoothly as a space shuttle mission can go, delivering one last round of supplies, logistics, and spare parts to the orbiting International Space Station. For Atlantis, it was probably a bit pedestrian--after all, it was the first shuttle to dock with the space station Mir and the final shuttle to service the Hubble Space Telescope, missions that at the time were anything but routine. It flew 33 total flights, docked with the ISS a dozen times, and logged roughly 125 million miles in orbit.